The Council decided on 14 September 2017 to publish the directives given to the Commission to negotiate a trade agreement with Japan.
In 2012, the Council gave a mandate to the Commission to start trade negotiations with Japan. At the EU-Japan summit of 6 July 2017, both parties reached agreement in principle on the main elements of a free trade deal, known as the economic partnership agreement (EPA). Work is currently underway to address the remaining open issues and finalise the legal text, with a view to the signature, ratification and conclusion of the agreement.
The EPA is a highly ambitious and comprehensive trade agreement. When fully implemented, 99% of the tariffs applied on EU exports to Japan, which currently amount to about €1 billion, will be removed. The agreement will create sizeable new opportunities for EU agricultural exports, while protecting high quality EU food and drink products and intellectual property rights on Japanese markets. It will also open up services markets and significantly increase EU companies' access to Japan's procurement bids. The EPA is based on the highest standards of labour, safety, environment and consumer protection. It is also the first trade agreement including a specific commitment to the Paris climate agreement.
The decision to make the negotiating directives public was taken by common accord: all Member States gave support to the publication.