Second anniversary of the EU-Japan trade agreement - further strengthening of relations

1 February marks the second anniversary of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and Japan. The Joint Committee established under the agreement, co-chaired by Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi celebrate this anniversary and agree on important improvements to the agreement. On both sides, 28 additional geographical indications (GI), and trade in wine and vehicles between the two partners will be even easier than before.

Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovkis explained: 

"The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement is one of our most important agreements. Together, the EU and Japan account for a quarter of world GDP and our bilateral trade amounts to around €170 billion a year. This agreement has made trade easier and cheaper for both European and Japanese producers and has helped farmers and producers alike. Our close cooperation is now bearing even more fruit as another 28 high quality traditional farm food products will be protected from imitation. We are also facilitating trade in wine and vehicles - products from two key sectors. This is very welcome as we work to rebuild economic growth after the COVID 19 pandemic. But the EU-Japan relationship goes beyond bilateral trade. Both parties stand for rules, open world trade and a strong World Trade Organisation."

The Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski elaborated:

"This agreement is an excellent example of trade benefiting both sides due to mutual trust and close cooperation, especially the agriculture and food sector. I thank Japan for a continuous constructive and fruitful dialogue. This agreement is and will continue to be very positive for Japanese and European farmers. After only two years since the agreement entered into force, a further 28 geographical indications on both sides are now protected in our respective markets. These products have real added value, reflecting authenticity and quality while rewarding our farmers. In addition, our European wine producers can now benefit from greater export opportunities thanks to the recent Japanese approval of wine-making practices. Good food means good business!"

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The Joint Committee takes account of a number of significant advances.

  • The List of protected geographical indications (PGI) from EU countries and Japan now contains a further 28 products with geographical indications for each side. This is an important development as it is the fastest ever expansion of a list of geographical indications under a free trade agreement (FTA). An additional 55 geographical indications will be added to the list for both parties. Products from EU countries include Cassis de Dijon, olive oil "Kalamata" and wine from Cariñena.
  • The export of vehicles to the other partner will become easier. Both sides agreed to extend the list of safety requirements for which double approval is not required. For example, if the EU certifies that a vehicle manufactured in the EU and exported to Japan meets certain safety requirements, Japan will no longer verify compliance with these requirements and vice versa. This includes important new and environmentally friendly technologies such as hybrid vehicles and hydrogen-powered vehicles.
  • Japan has recently aligned its wine standards with those of the EU under the Agreement and has authorised several European oenological practices on its territory. As a result, more EU wine will be able to enter the Japanese market.
  • The procedures for applying for and obtaining tariff preferences have been significantly simplified. This will make it easier for EU companies to export to Japan. The simplification of procedures is particularly important for small businesses, which often do not have the resources to explore and apply complicated rules.

Source: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/de/ip_21_313