Officials with the EU and Japan on 8 December 2017 announced the successful conclusion of negotiations regarding an economic partnership agreement—one of the largest bilateral trade agreement negotiated by the EU.
Upon the agreement’s entry into force, tariffs on more than 90% of exports from the EU to Japan will be eliminated. After full implementation, customs duties on 97% of imported goods from the EU will be eliminated. In total, the elimination and reduction of tariffs will save EU exporters approximately €1 billion in customs duties each year.
The goods for which the customs duties have been eliminated or reduced include major export products such as pork, beef, wine, and cheeses. In addition to measures addressing customs duties, the agreement also provides for protection on the Japanese market of more than 200 “geographical indications” of EU products.
For many EU companies, the non-tariff measures under the agreement will allow for simplified access to a highly regulated Japanese market. The EU and Japan have committed to aligning themselves to the same or similar international standards on product safety and quality regarding products including motor vehicles, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. The agreement also addresses sanitary and phytosanitary measures for products exported to Japan. The EU and Japan have agreed to simplify processes so that exporters do not have to deal with unnecessarily complex approval and clearance processes, but without lowering safety standards.
The conclusion of the negotiations is an important step, but not the final stage of the process. The EU and Japan will now start the process for legal verification of the text (known as “legal scrubbing”). After the legal scrubbing, the text will be translated into the 23 official languages of the EU, as well as into Japanese. The European Commission will then submit the agreement for the approval of the European Parliament and EU Member States, with an aim for the agreement’s entry into force in early 2019.
Read a December 2017 report prepared by the KPMG member firm in the Netherlands
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