Finalised EU-Japan free trade deal to cover ‘30% of global GDP’

Finalised EU-Japan free trade deal to cover ‘30% of global GDP’


Luke Foddy, Communications Manager

The free trade deal between the European Union and Japan was finalised today, with EU President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeting: “It’s done.”

The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) follows four years of negotiations, and will cut tariffs, introduce cooperation on standards and regulations, and open up public procurement markets, the Financial Times reports.

In a joint statement, the parties said the deal ‘demonstrates the powerful political will of Japan and the EU to continue to keep the flag of free trade waving high, and sends a strong message to the world.’

The deal also ‘sends a clear signal to the world that the EU and Japan are committed to keeping the world economy working on the basis of free, open and fair markets with clear and transparent rules fully respecting and enhancing our values, fighting the temptation of protectionism,’ the statement adds.

The EU-Japan EPA will create an economic zone incorporating 600 million people – and around 30% of global GDP. It is one of the largest and most comprehensive economic agreements that either the EU or Japan have concluded.

“This is the EU at its best, delivering both on form and on substance,” Mr Juncker said.

According to a European Commission press release, ‘the Economic Partnership Agreement will remove the vast majority of the €1 billion of duties paid annually by EU companies exporting to Japan, as well as a number of long-standing regulatory barriers. It will also open up the Japanese market of 127 million consumers to key EU agricultural exports and will increase EU export opportunities in a range of other sectors.’

Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Trade, said: “The EU and Japan share a common vision for an open and rules-based world economy that guarantees the highest standards. Today, we are sending a message to other countries about the importance of free and fair trade, and of shaping globalisation.”

View a breakdown of the key EPA points here