MEPs voiced concerns on Wednesday that a free-trade deal in the pipeline with Japan could harm the European car industry. In a resolution adopted by a huge majority they tell the Council to wait for Parliament's proposals before launching negotiations on the deal – which will have to be approved by Parliament.
During the debate with the EU Trade Commissioner, Karel de Gucht, who updated Parliament on the talks about the scope of the possible agreement with Japan, MEPs voiced doubts that Japan was ready to dismantle non-tariff barriers to its public-procurement, pharmaceutical and, in particular, its car market.
In the debate MEPs pointed out to their demands last year for a roadmap to deal with non-tariff barriers in Japan and said the Commission's report on the current state of play in the EU-Japan trade talks has failed to allay their concerns. However, they agreed that the opportunity for closer trade links with Japan, the world's third-largest economy, and their potential to help create jobs and growth in Europe should not be missed.
Parliament voted by 517 votes to 74, with 89 abstentions, to request the Council not to authorise the opening of trade negotiations until Parliament has stated its position.
Procedure: non-legislative resolution