International Agreements in Progress: Prospective EU-Japan free trade agreement

Briefing 07-10-2016

Negotiations on an EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) were officially launched in March 2013. There have been 17 rounds of negotiations to date, with the latest taking place at the end of September 2016, in Brussels. Although there is strong political will to conclude the agreement as early as possible, whether the FTA can be finalised by the end of 2016 remains to be seen. The deal with Japan, the EU’s second largest trading partner in Asia, is expected to enhance trade and investment relationships between the two parties. European companies, especially those in the food, feed and processed food sectors, will benefit from improved access to the Japanese market, mainly through the reduction both of tariffs on specific goods as well as existing regulatory and non-tariff barriers. The Trade Sustainability Impact Assessment for the EU-Japan FTA indicates that the EU-Japan FTA and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement, involving the EU and the United States, would result in similar levels of economic gains for Europe. Moreover, the EU-Japan FTA may balance the potentially negative effects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, which counts Japan among its members, on the EU.