EU Council Takes Decision for Signing Trade Agreement with Japan

EU Council Takes Decision for Signing Trade Agreement with Japan

The Council of the European Union has taken the decision to sign the long-negotiated Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Japan.

On July 6, the Council also agreed to ask the European Union to approve the conclusion of the EPA with Japan, the Council press service announced.

On June 26, it had already adopted a decision on the signing and provisional application of a strategic partnership agreement (SPA) between the two countries.

The EU and Japan are to sign both the EPA and SPA on July 11, 2018, at a summit in Brussels.

The European Commission describes the EU – Japan Economic Partnership deal as “a highly ambitious and comprehensive trade agreement.”

Once it is fully enforced, it is reduce the Japanese tariffs on EU exports by 99%, a sum presently amounting to EUR 1 billion.

The benefits for the EU will include opportunities for boosting agricultural exports to Japan, opening the services markets and improving access for EU companies to Japanese public procurement tenders, and protecting EU intellectual property rights in the Japanese market.

“The EPA is based on the highest standards of labour, safety, environment and consumer protection. It is also the first trade agreement including a specific commitment to the Paris climate agreement,” the Council points out, reminding that the free trade talks with Japan have been in progress since March 2013.

The EU and Japan are still negotiating on investment protection standards and investment protection dispute resolution.

The other bilateral deal, the Strategic Partnership Agreement, is the first-ever framework agreement between the EU and Japan.

“It highlights the shared values and common principles that constitute the basis for the deep and long-lasting cooperation between the EU and Japan as strategic partners, including democracy, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the Council says.

Areas of cooperation under the EPA include international peace and security, cyber crime, energy security, climate change mitigation, innovation and judicial and law enforcement cooperation.

The European Union and Japan have had a strategic partnership since 2001. The talks for a strategic framework agreement were authorized at the end of 2012, and were concluded in April 2018.

Earlier in 2018, the EU concluded free trade talks with Mexico, while CETA, the EU – Canada free trade agreement entered into force in September 2017.

On behalf of the EU, the European Commission recently started free trade negotiations with Australia and with New Zealand.

(Banner image: Pixabay)

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