Written by Krisztina Binder, graphics: Giulio Sabbati,
Negotiations on an EU-Japan trade agreement were officially launched in March 2013. Following the political agreement in principle reached in July 2017, a final accord on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was announced in December 2017. On 18 April 2018, the European Commission proposed to the Council of the European Union to sign and conclude the agreement. The Commission expects that the EU-Japan EPA can be signed in July 2018, and aims to have the agreement come into effect before the end of its mandate in 2019, following approval by the Council and the European Parliament.
The EU-Japan EPA will establish a free trade area with a combined market of around 640 million consumers that accounts for roughly a third of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). The 2016 Trade Sustainability Impact Assessment (Trade SIA) of the agreement indicated that EU exports to Japan could rise by up to 34 %, and according to a more recent Commission estimate, European companies would save up to €1 billion in customs duties per year as a result of the EU-Japan EPA.
In addition to exploiting the untapped potential of bilateral trade, the agreement is also of strategic importance, conveying a strong message of the parties’ commitment to promoting a free and fair trading system based on rules, and to reject trade protectionism.
Read the complete briefing on ‘International Agreements in Progress – EU-Japan trade agreement: a driver for closer cooperation beyond trade‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.