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Debates
Tuesday, 11 December 2018 - Strasbourg Revised edition

EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement - EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (resolution) - EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement - EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement (resolution) - Adequacy of the protection of personal data afforded by Japan (debate)
MPphoto
 

  Pedro Silva Pereira, Rapporteur. – Madam President, let me begin by thanking Commissioner Malmström and the EU’s chief negotiator, Mauro Petriccione, for their intensive work on this agreement with Japan and for our good cooperation. Let me also thank the shadow rapporteurs. I believe that by working together and building compromises we have reached a very good outcome, so that we can have a meaningful vote tomorrow – not only on the agreement itself but also on a resolution in which Parliament sends out important messages about trade, and calls on the parties to make the most of the progressive potential of this agreement.

As standing rapporteur, let me begin by saying that we are discussing here much more than a trade agreement. Yes, this is a historic moment. In front of us, we have the most important bilateral trade agreement ever concluded by the EU. Two of the largest economies in the world, together representing nearly a third of the world’s GDP, will move closer to each other, eliminating a number of heavy tariffs as well as non—tariff barriers to trade. As a result, European products and services will get major new opportunities in the Japanese market. Acknowledging the successful outcome of the negotiations, all EU economic sectors are now speaking in favour of this agreement, including the agri—food sector, which will benefit from new export opportunities while protecting 205 geographical indications.

No matter how relevant it may be from the economic point of view, however, this agreement is, above all, of major strategic importance. It gives us the chance to shape the global agenda at a time of rising protectionism, thus sending a clear and timely signal in favour of an open, fair and rules—based trading system. We should not miss this opportunity to promote our own values and standards in the Asia—Pacific region and in global trade.

I would not be standing here as rapporteur supporting this EU—Japan Agreement if it were not a progressive trade agreement: an agreement clearly belonging to a new generation of trade agreements, in which sustainable development matters and environment, labour rights and consumer protection matter.

Of course, there is no such thing as a perfect agreement, but this agreement recognises the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It is the first trade agreement with a reference to the Paris Agreement on climate change and it fully respects public services and the right to regulate. Moreover, it includes not only a commitment to pursue the ratification of the core International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions but also a review clause for improving the enforceability of labour and environmental rules.

Japan, it is fair to say, has made substantial efforts, even before the entry into force of the agreement, and it is already discussing at inter—ministerial level the implementation of its sustainable development commitments. This should be warmly welcomed as a very good sign.

Parliament has closely followed these negotiations from the beginning. We were supportive but also demanding. Last Friday, the Japanese Parliament approved the agreement. Tomorrow this Parliament will have the final say. My position as rapporteur is that this trade agreement is economically balanced and of major strategic importance. Furthermore, it clearly represents a step forward on sustainable development. Therefore, I recommend that you support this important EU—Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and vote in favour of our resolution.

 
Last updated: 22 May 2019Legal notice