EU and Japan sign Economic Partnership Agreement

 In General news

At the EU-Japan summit in Tokyo, Presidents Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, signed the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

The trade agreement is the biggest ever negotiated by the EU. It will create an open trade zone covering over 600 million people.
The agreement will remove the vast majority of the €1 billion of duties paid annually by EU companies exporting to Japan. In addition, it has has led to the removal of a number of long-standing regulatory barriers, for example on cars. It will also open up the Japanese market of 127 million consumers to key EU agricultural exports, and increase EU export opportunities in a range of other sectors.
The EPA will strengthen cooperation between Europe and Japan in a range of areas. It will reaffirm their shared commitment to sustainable development, and include for the first time a specific commitment to the Paris climate agreement.

The key parts of the Economic Partnership Agreement:
With regards to agricultural exports from the EU, the agreement will, in particular:
– Scrap Japanese duties on many cheeses such as Gouda and Cheddar (which currently are at 29.8%);
– Scrap Japanese duties as on wine exports (currently at 15% on average);
– Allow the EU to increase its beef exports to Japan substantially;
– On pork there will be duty-free trade in processed meat and almost duty-free trade for fresh meat;
– Ensure the protection in Japan of more than 200 high-quality European agricultural products, so called Geographical Indications (GIs);
– Ensure the protection of a selection of Japanese GIs in the EU;
– Reduce customs duties on specific Japanese goods such as cars, eliminating such duties over a pre-agreed period.

When ratified by both countries the agreement could enter into force in 2019.

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