Answer given by Mr De Gucht on behalf of the Commission
The Commission is aware of IFAW’s report on ‘The Economics of Japanese Whaling’ and is examining it.
The EU integrates sustainability considerations into its trade policy, most notably by negotiating commitments on environment and labour standards in bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) and by carrying out sustainability impact assessments in relation to trade negotiations.
With regard to FTA negotiations with Japan, the Commission’s objective is to include in the FTA an ambitious and comprehensive chapter on Trade and Sustainable Development, which should inter alia address the conservation, sustainable management and promotion of trade in legally obtained and sustainable natural resources, including fishery resources. The chapter on Trade and Sustainable Development should therefore contribute to Japan’s effective implementation of Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs), including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The Commission takes the view that provisions on Trade and Sustainable Development should aim at a high level of environmental and labour protection.
Regarding the specific issue of whaling, the EU has expressed its difference of approach with Japan on numerous occasions and will no doubt continue to do so in relevant contexts.
OJ C 6 E, 10/01/2014