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Updated: Jan 31, 2022

As a result of 114 years of political relations between Colombia and Japan, and after more than 10 years of negotiations with both governments and ministries, the EPA pays special attention to strengthening Technology Transfer and its benefits to both parties.

By: Leslie Benítez - CCJCI International Business Assistant

Japan and Colombia have made clear the goals and expectations with which they want to reach with this agreement, what results they want to obtain and the different challenges that will be faced at the time of its implementation. The advantages in trade and services of both countries are clear. On the one hand, Colombia has an advantage in the export of products from the agricultural, coffee, mining, oil, flower and textile industries; and on the other, Japan, with a great advantage worldwide in the industry of digital, physical and biological technologies. Both economies being complementary, the reason why the signing and implementation of the Economic Association Agreement has been promoted for so many years.

However, traditional products and services do not represent 100% of what this EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement) wants to cover, since it wants to have a high level of international strategic alliances between companies from both countries, this given in a context in which the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Societies 5.0 are booming in development. In the country there has been a high interest in progress and the generation of projects focused on technology both in products and services related to Smart cities, living labs, open data, bid data, cloud, Smart security, intelligence artificial and the Internet of Things (IoT). In this sense, both private companies and Higher Education Institutions have shown an interest in investing in these technological developments, and more so in this "post-COVID" era where all sectors and countries have begun to assimilate a new social dynamic. Although these investments in technological projects and research existed before the pandemic, they have remained reserved given the economic conditions that several companies presented, but the support has always been on the part of these actors.

According to data provided by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Research, Technological Development or Innovation projects financed by companies have decreased over the years, presenting figures in 2018 of 3 projects, in 2019 with only 4 projects , however, presenting an increase to 10 projects in 2020, which were financed by 8 private and 2 public companies, where the area of ​​work was medical and health sciences in clinical medicine, natural sciences and medicine. engineering and technology; In the same way, the HEIs have presented a reduction in their projects, presenting 398 projects in 2018, 188 projects in 2019 and 177 projects in 2020 by 76 private institutions and 100 public institutions, this reduction in the projects has been justified in its majority for the prohibition of the use of spaces such as laboratories given the current health conditions, however, with the reopening of these institutions, work is being done so that these projects can return to the data of the past.

On the other hand, Japan has always been in the Top 20 of the WIPO World Innovation Index, being ranked #13 in 2021 out of more than 130 economies. Likewise, it occupies the #1 position in the world ranking of Clusters, being the city of Tokyo and Yokohama the mentioned one, and given the reputation that Japan has worldwide in this sector, its government for several years has promoted the protection and development of intellectual property under the banner of the “intellectual property-based nation”. The field in which intellectual property is developed has expanded beyond the departments of each company or university research institutes, which is why the Japanese government promoted the creation of TLO (Technology Licensing Organization) or technology organizations. Licensed since 1998. Those institutions or companies that take advantage of these TLOs will be able to obtain benefits both in reductions or exemption of patent fees, generate investment, and generate debt guarantees, all this within the framework of different Japanese laws focused on the transfer technology of Universities and private and public companies.

In the same way, mention is made of institutions in the Colombian territory that are calling attention worldwide for their actions directed to the field of innovation in science, technology and innovation, such as the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, located in the city of Medellin, which has direct contact with the National Government and strategic alliances with several large companies in Colombia and Latin America.

To conclude, the work that has been promoted by several companies of Japanese origin in Colombia, public and private organizations in Japan, the Japanese Embassy in Colombia and the Colombian Embassy in Japan, the Colombian Ministries and the Colombian Japanese Chamber of Commerce is highlighted. and Industry and its affiliates, as well as different Universities and Educational Institutions that are in constant communication with the EPA negotiating team, so that when talks are resumed and finalized and presented to Congress, different projects can be generated directly with Japan and to be able to present the results to the Colombian society, which in 2020 and 2021 has been faced with different technological challenges given the deficiency that has been present for years.

Reference sources:

  • UNITT University Network for Innovation and Technology Transfer

  • Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Japan

  • ColSciences Colombia

  • Global Innovation Index 2021 - World Intellectual Property Organization

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