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Statement by Minister Seko on the agreement in principle on the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)

July 6, 2017

  1. On July 6, 2017, negotiations on the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which began in 2013, finally reached an agreement in principle. This Agreement is one of the key pillars of Japan’s growth strategy, and plays a critical role in maintaining and reinforcing a free trade system challenged by the spread of protectionism.
  2. The EU economy, with a population of 500 million, and which accounts for 20 percent of global GDP and 10 percent of Japan’s gross import and export value, is an important trade and investment partner for Japan.
    This agreement is expected to promote further economic partnership between Japan and the EU, by not only reducing and eliminating tariffs, but also establishing advanced rules between the two economies, such as rules in investment and services, collaborations on regulations and standards, and policies for the digital economy such as e-commerce.
  3. The tariffs which the EU had imposed on goods from Japan (which accounts for 70 percent of Japanese exports to the EU), will be mostly eliminated after this EPA goes into force. The agreement will dramatically improve the environment for fair competition in the European market and thus will satisfy the expectations of Japanese industries. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will continue our commitment to supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in capitalizing on the tremendous opportunities in the EU market, made easier through this EPA.
  4. Japan and the EU also agreed on high-level rules for investment, services and intellectual property, as well as e-commerce and digital data, which are extremely important for SMEs attempting to do business overseas. Japan and the EU are expected to work together in leading the promotion of mutual investment and the establishment of regulations and standards for the environment and security.
  5. In order for Japanese companies and citizens to benefit from this EPA at the earliest possible time, METI will continue its utmost efforts to reach an agreement on the issues that were left for future negotiations in order to achieve the earliest signing and entry into force of this EPA.

Division in Charge

Economic Partnership Division, Trade Policy Bureau

Last updated:2017-07-06
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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