(content provided by EuroCommerce) After more than four years of negotiation, the EU and Japan have reached a political agreement in principle on an Economic Partnership Agreement during Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Brussels.
Talks will continue
The agreement will eliminate tariffs on more than 90% of the EU’s exports to Japan. Tariffs on agricultural products will decrease substantially or will be abolished over time. The existing quote system for leather and shoes will be removed and tariffs on shoes will be cut from 30% to 21% at entry into force. There is also a mutual commitment to basing technical regulations on international standards. Cumbersome textile labelling rules were already aligned with international norms in 2015.
EuroCommerce met representatives of the European Business Council last week to discuss the outcome of the negotiations, for which EuroCommerce have been pushing proactively for some years. However, negotiations have yet to be completed, and some chapters are some way from being so, including on regulatory cooperation and the general and institutional chapters, and most notably, investment protection.
The EU has put its reformed Investment Court System on the table, while Japan prefers the old investor protection system. The trade talks will continue on a technical level until the end of the year. Considering the necessary ratification process the entry into force of the agreement is expected in early 2019.