EU Commission to Negotiate Free Trade Agreement with Japan

On 18 July 2012, the EU Commission asked the 27 member states for a mandate to negotiate with Japan about a Japan-EU free trade agreement. This move is welcomed by the pharmaceuticals and food industries as well as the service sector, among others. Japan is the second-largest trading partner of the EU in Asia.

Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht explains the initiative: "Together the EU and Japan generate more than one-third of the global economic output. Further developing the promising Japanese market could increase European exports to Japan by one-third. This could lead to 400,000 new jobs in the EU alone."

Non-tariff trade barriers will have to be addressed primarily. Here the EU Commission expects concrete results in the form of concessions by Japan. For the EU Commission, deregulation to eliminate barriers is simultaneously a prerequisite for a reduction of tariff barriers.

Through its strategy of concluding free trade agreements with the leading trade partners, the EU Commission hopes to increase the economic output of the EU by EUR 250 billion. These considerations are based on the expectation that about 90 percent of global economic growth will be generated outside of Europe until 2030.

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