EuroCommerce has welcomed the historic trade agreement signed between Japan and the European Union during the 25th EU-Japan Summit earlier this week.
“The formal signing today of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement sends an important message to those leaders who want to throw away all that a rules-based world trading system has achieved,” EuroCommerce director general Christian Verschueren said in a press release.
The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement is “the largest trade bilateral trade agreement the EU has completed so far,” according to Verschueren.
Japan is the EU’s second biggest trading partner in Asia, after China, according to EuroCommerce. The markets in the EU and Japan combined account for approximately one third of global GDP and cover more than 600 million people.
The Japanese market alone has over 127 million consumers that will now have access to agricultural exports from the EU, and bolster export opportunities in other sectors.
A key part of the agreement will see the removal of a vast majority of tariffs, expecting to save EU companies that export their products to Japan as much as €1bn a year in customs duties. The agreement will also remove several regulatory barriers on products like cars, for example.
A data transfer agreement between the EU and Japan was also negotiated, and the EU and Japan ‘will recognise each other’s data protection systems as equivalent,’ making e-commerce a more feasible opportunity, as well as guaranteeing privacy protection of personal data.
According to the European Commission, the agreement is set to adhere to high labor, environmental, and consumer protection standards. Additionally, by devoting a chapter to sustainable development, it will be the EU’s first negotiated trade agreement to specifically commit to the Paris climate agreement.
Policy Issues Addressed
Leaders at the summit addressed other issues relating to regional and foreign policy. Discussions around the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol and the ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine took place during the Summit.
Additionally, leaders discussed the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula as well as their support and commitment to preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – also known as the Iran nuclear deal. Other bilateral issues discussed included strengthening the EU-Japan security partnership and cooperation in development policy.
“The impact of the Economic Partnership Agreement goes far beyond our shores,” the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker commented.
“Together, we are making a statement about the future of free and fair trade. We are showing that we are stronger and better off when we work together and we are leading by example, showing that trade is about more than tariffs and barriers. It is about values, principles and finding win-win solutions for all. As far as we are concerned, there is no protection in protectionism – and there cannot be unity where there is unilateralism."
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Padideh Aghanoury. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.