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EU, Japan Ink New Trade Agreement

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

23 July 2018

The EU and Japan have signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that will remove the majority of the EUR1bn (USD1.2bn) of duties paid annually by EU companies exporting to Japan.

Negotiations toward an EPA began in 2013. An agreement in principle was reached in July 2017, and negotiations were finalized in December.

The agreement will eliminate Japanese duties on a range of EU cheeses (currently as high as 29.8 percent) and on wine exports (currently at 15 percent on average). The EU will be able to substantially increase its beef exports to Japan and will gain duty-free access for processed meat and almost duty-free access for fresh meat.

The agreement also opens up Japanese services markets and procurement markets.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said: "Together with Japan, we are sending a strong signal to the world that two of its biggest economies still believe in open trade, opposing both unilateralism and protectionism. The economic benefits of this agreement re clear. By removing billions of euros of duties, simplifying customs procedures, and tackling behind-the-border barriers to trade, it will offer opportunities for companies on both sides to boost their exports and expand their business."

The EU has estimated that, once fully in force, the agreement could increase EU exports of goods and services by 13 percent.

The agreement must now be ratified by the European Parliament and the Japanese parliament, after which it could enter into force in 2019.

TAGS: business | free trade agreement (FTA) | export duty | tariffs | agreements | import duty | trade | European Union (EU) | Japan | services | Europe

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