Europe Explained – EU Japan Agreement

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EU and Japanese leaders signed two landmark agreements to increase their cooperation at the 25th EU-Japan summit:

1) The EU-Japan free trade agreement will remove 99% of tariffs paid by EU companies exporting to Japan. It sends a clear message that the EU and Japan stand together against protectionism.

2) The EU-Japan strategic partnership agreement will boost cooperation between both sides on a wide range of issues beyond trade, such as:

  • security and defence
  • energy and climate
  • people-to-people exchanges

“We are putting in place the largest bilateral trade deal ever. This is an act of enormous strategic importance for the rules-based international order, at a time when some are questioning this order. We are sending a clear message that we stand together against protectionism.”

Remarks by President Donald Tusk after the EU-Japan summit in Tokyo

EU and Japanese leaders also discussed foreign and security issues, including the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and their joint support to the Iran nuclear deal.

President Donald Tusk and President Jean-Claude Juncker represented the EU at the summit. Prime Minister Shinzō Abe represented Japan.

Trade

Leaders signed the EU-Japan free trade agreement (FTA), the largest trade deal ever negotiated by the EU. It will create a trade zone covering 600 million people and nearly a third of global GDP.

Once fully implemented, the free trade agreement will remove most of the duties that EU companies pay annually to export to Japan. It will also eliminate several regulatory barriers.

“The Economic Partnership Agreement demonstrates to the world the firm political will of the EU and Japan to keep the flag of free trade waving high and powerfully advance free trade. (…) The Agreement will also deliver sustainable and inclusive economic growth and spur job creation.”

EU-Japan summit joint statement

In addition, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to fight protectionism and to defend the rules-based international trading system. They committed to modernise the World Trade Organisation in line with the conclusions of the Charlevoix G7 Summit.

EU-Japan cooperation

The EU-Japan strategic partnership agreement was also signed at the summit. This agreement will take the EU’s longstanding partnership with Japan to a new level, with deeper and more strategic cooperation:

“The strategic partnership agreement will enrich the political dimension of our relationship and allow for deeper cooperation in a broad range of sectors, notably with regard to peace and security, migration, the fight against terrorism, energy, climate change, education, research and innovation, and development.”

EU-Japan summit joint statement

Both sides reaffirmed their strong commitment to implement the Paris agreement on climate change by focussing on emission reduction and improving energy efficiency.

Leaders also welcomed the conclusion of the talks on an adequate level of data protection by the EU and Japan. This should create the world’s largest area of safe data transfers with a high level of data protection.

Foreign and security policy

EU and Japanese leaders discussed a range of regional and international issues, including the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula:

“In foreign policy we stand side by side with Japan in efforts to maintain pressure on Pyongyang so as to ensure complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. We want to see an end to all of DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.”

Remarks by President Donald Tusk after the EU-Japan summit in Tokyo

Both sides also reiterated their support to the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) as well as to Ukrainian sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

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