Negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and Japan officially launched

The European Union and Japan have officially opened the negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement. These negotiations will cover a wide range of trade-related issues between both parties such as the reciprocal access to public procurement, some regulatory issues, competition and sustainable development.

It is expected that a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the European Union and Japan would make a contribution to EU's economy growth by 0.6 and 0.8 of its GDP, create about 400,000 jobs and would increase exports from the European Union to Japan by 32.7%, as well as increase Japanese exports to Europe by 23.5%. The first round of negotiations for the agreement will take place in Brussels between 15 and 19 April.

Japan is the world's seventh largest economy and the second trading partner of the EU in Asia, after China. The negotiations with Japan will address issues such as the elimination of non-tariff barriers and the reciprocal opening of Japanese public procurement market for European businesses. Both parties aim to reach an agreement that will allow a progressive and reciprocal liberalization of trade in goods, services and investments.

Given the importance of reaching an agreement about the removal of non-tariff barriers, the Council's mandate for these negotiations provides the parallelism between the elimination of EU duties and non-tariff barriers in Japan. The directives adopted for the negotiations also foresee the suspension of the negotiations within a year if Japan does not meet its commitment to eliminate these barriers. Further to these provisions, the European Parliament also expressed the need to ensure that a free trade agreement with Japan will respect the interests of certain European strategic sectors.