EU and Japan sign Economic Partnership Agreement

At the EU-Japan summit in Tokyo, European Presidents Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, signed this week the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The trade agreement is the biggest ever negotiated by the EU and will create an open trade zone covering over 600 million people and will now go to the European Parliament for ratification. CLEPA supports this important bilateral accord, which is expected to lead to a significant boost in EU automotive parts’ exports, among other goods and products, with the potential to increase growth and jobs in both Europe and Japan.


President of the European Commission Jean-Claude  Juncker  said:  “The document we signed today is much more than a trade agreement. It is of course a tool that will create opportunities for our companies, our workers and our citizens and that will boost the European and Japanese economies. But it is also a statement. For its content, its scope and also its timing. It is a statement by two likeminded partners that together represent nearly a third of the world’s GDP and reiterate their commitment to uphold the highest standards in areas such as labour, safety, environmental or consumer protection. And what we’re saying is that we believe in open, fair and rules-based trade. What we are saying is that a trade agreement is not a zero sum game, but a win-win for the involved parties. This agreement will bring tangible benefits to both sides and at the same time safeguard each other’s sensitivities.”


Cecilia  Malmström , Commissioner for Trade, said:  “Together with Japan, we are sending a strong signal to the world that two of its biggest economies still believe in open trade, opposing both unilateralism and protectionism. The economic benefits of this agreement are clear. By removing billions of euros of duties, simplifying customs procedures and tackling behind-the-border barriers to trade, it will offer opportunities for companies on both sides to boost their exports and expand their business. The European agriculture sector in particular has something to celebrate, with access to the enormous Japanese market and protection for over 200 distinctive food and drinks like Champagne and Parma ham. I now call on the European Parliament to approve this agreement quickly so that firms, citizens and farmers can reap the benefits as soon as possible.”


CLEPA, in particular, recognises the robust automotive annex now in place, which supports further regulatory convergence of regulations, based on international standards and recognition of approvals under the 1958 UN Agreement. Automotive suppliers also support the unprecedented inclusion of the parties’ commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement and, amongst others, the coverage of remanufactured products, which now caters for their unhindered access into Japan, opening up business for our members. However, at the same time, CLEPA would like to see access to the independent aftermarket in Japan further opened up, as already is the case in the EU. Unfortunately, the current arrangements in Japan do not allow for complete market entry and commercial opportunities in the aftermarket business. This needs to be further strengthened.


Source: European Commission, CLEPA



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