The EU-Japan free trade agreement that removes the vast majority of the €1 billion of duties paid annually by EU companies exporting to Japan has entered into force. Under the deal, Japan will have removed duties on 97% of the goods that it imports from the bloc. The deal also gets rid of non-tariff barriers such as the endorsement of the international standards in the automotive industry. It will also break down barriers for key European food and drink exporters and boost export opportunities for the EU. Once the deal is fully acted upon, trade between both sides could increase by almost €36 billion.
The EU and Japan have also agreed to bind themselves to a high environmental standard. The text of the deal includes several provisions on sustainable development and ties them back to the Paris climate agreement. The key parts of the deal are, for example, scrapping Japanese duties on the imports of many European cheeses and wines or allowing the EU to boost its beef exports. Japan will also ensure the protection of more than 200 high-quality European agricultural products and Europe of Japanese products in the European market.
The deal also targets areas such as e-commerce, telecommunications and transport and facilitates European firms’ access to the procurement markets of Japan’s major cities and removes obstacles to procurement in the railway industry. Moreover, the historic deal addresses certain vulnerabilities on the EU’s side such as sensitivities in the car industry with transition of up to 7 years before customs duties are completely removed. As part of any free trade deal the EU strikes with third parties, environmental considerations and sustainable development are also on the agenda.