Jul 7, 2017
EU, Japan conclude Economic Partnership Agreement
Jul 7, 2017
The European Union and Japan have reached an agreement in principle on the main elements of an Economic Partnership Agreement, which will see complete elimination of tariffs on textiles and clothing. For the EU and its Member States, the agreement will remove the vast majority of duties paid by EU companies, which sum up to €1 billion annually.
The deal, which includes a specific commitment to the Paris climate agreement, will be the most important bilateral trade agreement ever concluded by the EU. It will open the Japanese market to key EU agricultural exports and increase opportunities in a range of sectors, the European Commission said in a statement.
It sets the highest standards of labour, safety, environmental and consumer protection, fully safeguards public services and has a dedicated chapter on sustainable development. It also builds on and reinforces the high standards for the protection of personal data that both, the EU and Japan, have recently entrenched in their data protection laws.
Once the agreement comes into force, tariffs on textiles and clothing will be “fully abolished”. “It will increase EU exports and create new opportunities for European companies, big and small, their employees and consumers. The value of exports from the EU could increase by as much as €20 billion, meaning more possibilities and jobs in many EU sectors such as agriculture and food products, leather, clothing and shoes, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and others,” the statement said.
The announcement on the conclusion of the agreement in principle was made during the EU-Japan Summit by the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Council Donald Tusk, and the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe.
“Today we agreed in principle on an Economic Partnership Agreement, the impact of which goes far beyond our shores… Together, we are sending a strong message to the world that we stand for open and fair trade. As far as we are concerned, there is no protection in protectionism. Only by working together will we be able to set ambitious global standards,” said Juncker.
Though the agreement in principle covers most aspects of the Economic Partnership Agreement, in some chapters technical details still need to be ironed out, and there are also chapters that remain outside the scope of the agreement in principle. Negotiators from both sides will continue their work to resolve all the remaining technical issues and conclude a final text of the agreement by the end of the year. Then, the Commission will proceed to the legal verification and translation of the agreement into all EU official languages, and will consequently submit it for the approval of EU Member States and the European Parliament.
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