Delegation of the European Union to Japan

Trade and Investment Relations

Japan is the EU’s 6th largest overall trading partner whilst the EU is Japan's 3rd largest overall trading partner (after China and the US). We are currently negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA, also known as the Economic Partnership Agreement, or EPA) which could bring significant benefits to both parties.

Manufactured goods dominate bilateral trade

Machinery and transport equipment represented 37% of the total EU exports to Japan in 2016, chemicals 25% and all other manufactured products 22%, while primary products (such as agriculture, raw materials and energy) represented 14%. Machinery and transport equipment alone accounted for 65% of the total EU imports from Japan in 2016, while chemicals accounted for 10% and primary products for 2%.

2016 TRADE STATS a

 

Trade in Services 

As for services, exports to Japan grew from €26.1bn in 2014 to €28bn in 2015 whilst services imports to the EU from Japan increased from €15bn in 2014 to €15.9bn in 2015. The EU's surplus of €12.1bn in its service trade with Japan was mainly due to trade in financial services, computer/information services, travel, air transportation services and other business services.

2016 TRADE STATS b

See here for more information

 

Free Trade Agreement – FTA (also known as the Economic Partnership Agreement or EPA)

What is it, and why does it matter?

The EU and Japan are two economic giants, together accounting for a third of world GDP and more than a fifth of world trade. Studies show that the successful conclusion of an ambitious free trade agreement between EU and Japan could deliver a potential 32.7% increase in EU exports to Japan. Japanese exports to the EU could rise by as much as 23.5%. The FTA matters to both sides.

The negotiations take place in Working Groups which cover the following areas: Trade in goods (including Market Access, General Rules, Trade Remedies, Industrial goods), Technical Barriers to Trade and Non-Tariff Measures, Rules of Origin, Customs and Trade Facilitation, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, Trade in Services, InvestmentProcurement, Intellectual Property, Competition Policy, Trade and Sustainable Development, Other issues (General and Regulatory Cooperation, Corporate Governance and Business Environment, Electronic Commerce, Animal Welfare) and Dispute Settlement.

What has happened so far?  

Negotiations were officially launched on 25 March 2013 by the then Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Council President Herman Van Rompuy and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

In accordance with its negotiating mandate, the EU assessed the progress achieved during the first year of talks and whether Japan had implemented the commitments it made prior to the launch of the negotiations. Despite some concerns, it was agreed in May 2014 that the negotiations should continue. Following that, in July 2014, the 6th round of negotiations in Tokyo marked the resumption, and a second stage in the negotiations. The 17th round of negotiations took place in Brussels in September 2016, and the 18th round took place in Tokyo in early April 2017.

There is a strong and vibrant trade between the European Union (EU) and Japan in a number of industrial goods. In fact more than 75% of all Japanese goods exported to the EU and close to 60% of all European goods exported to Japan are from the following three product groups:

  1. machinery and appliances: machinery and mechanical appliances, electrical equipment;
  2. transport equipment: motor and railway vehicles, aircraft and vessels; and
  3. products of the chemical or allied industries: chemicals and pharmaceutical products.

Bilateral trade in industrial goods is affected by various aspects of trade policy. In addition to import tariffs, so-called non-tariff measures are the most important factors which impede greater trade flows between the EU and Japan. Divergent standards and technical requirements – as well as other regulatory and administrative issues, both at the border and beyond – also limit current trade. They significantly increase the cost of compliance, and therefore of doing business. One of the principal aims of the on-going FTA negotiations is to mutually eliminate these non-tariff barriers to trade.

The European Commission set out its key priorities on industrial policy in the EU in its Communication “For a European Industrial Renaissance”.  It also put forward new measures to speed up attainment of the following objectives:

  • mainstreaming industrial competitiveness in other policy areas to sustain the competitiveness of the EU economy;
  • maximising the potential of the internal market;
  • implementing the instruments of regional development in support of innovation, skills, and entrepreneurship;
  • promoting access to critical inputs in order to encourage investment;
  • facilitating the integration of EU firms in global value chains.

 

Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR)

Impact of the Biocidal Products Regulation (EU) No 528/2012 of 22 May 2012 on the import of manufactured goods into the EU

Regulation (EU) No 528/2012 on the making available on the market and use of biocidal products (Official Journal L167 of 27 June 2012), known as the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR), applies since 1 September 2013. This regulation contains provisions which apply not only to biocidal products but also to manufactured goods if they have been treated with or incorporate a biocidal product.

Such manufactured goods are defined as treated articles under Article 3(1) of that Regulation and a specific legal regime apply to them.

In order to avoid a significant impact on trade, economic operators should take benefit of the current period of transition to make goods compliant for export to the EU.

Article 58(2) of the BPR indeed specifies that a treated article can only be placed on the EU market if it has been treated with active substances which have been approved in the EU for that purpose. This provision also applies to and is critically relevant for treated articles imported from third countries. Therefore, third country manufacturers of goods such as IT or electronic equipment, furniture, textiles, automobiles need to be fully aware of the provisions of the Biocidal Products Regulation on treated articles.

Pursuant to Article 94 of the Regulation, there is currently a period of transition but, from 1 March 2017 onwards, non-compliant treated articles will no longer be allowed on the EU market.

For currently non-compliant treated articles, different options are available to manufacturers. In particular, the options are: a) switch to substances approved or under evaluation in the EU; or b) submit either themselves or through a third party, an application for the approval of the active substance used for the treatment or incorporated in the article to the European Chemicals Agency by 1 September 2016.

Given the importance of these provisions, a note on 'Frequently asked questions on treated articles' is available at: http://echa.europa.eu/guidance-documents/guidance-on-biocides-legislation

Should you have further questions on the matter, please contact Commission services at SANTE-BIOCIDES@ec.europa.eu.

The EU and Japan are both signatories to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement and have rules aimed at ensuring public money is spent in a transparent, efficient and non-discriminatory way. Nevertheless, European companies currently face obstacles in winning public contracts in Japan.

Both the EU and Japan are committed to achieving increased liberalisation and expansion of world trade, and in the FTA negotiations have a chance to remove remaining obstacles and to ensure that EU and Japanese firms can bid for public tenders on equal terms.

Further market opening in public procurement would be good for both the EU and Japan. For public authorities with tight budgets, it can bring:

  • better value for money
  • more choice
  • greater economic efficiency
  • good governance.

For companies it could:

  • increase demand for their products or services
  • create opportunities for growth
  • safeguard existing jobs
  • create new jobs.

What are public procurement and concessions?

Public procurement refers to the process by which public authorities such as government departments or local authorities purchase work, goods or services from companies which they have selected for this purpose. Examples include building a state school, purchasing furniture for a public prosecutor's office or contracting cleaning services for a railway station.

A concession is a kind of partnership between the public sector and a (usually) private company that has shown its added value in a specific area, for example developing infrastructure. While in a public contract a company is paid a fixed amount for completing the required work or providing a service, in a concession a company is remunerated mostly through being permitted to run and exploit the work or service and is exposed to a potential loss on its investment. Examples include road and rail transport, port and airport services, motorway maintenance and management, waste management, energy and heating services.

Public contracts falling within the scope of the European directives represent EUR 425 billion annually or 3.4 % of the EU’s GDP (2011 figures).  According to the European Investment Bank, more than 1 300 public private partnership (PPP) contracts were signed in the EU between 1990 and 2009, representing more than EUR 250 billion. Concessions are the most common form of PPP (60 %).

 

Public procurement-related policy developments in the EU

Key EU legislation on public procurement includes:
- a directive on public procurement (Directive 2014/24/EU)
- a directive on procurement by entities operating in the utilities sectors, eg water, energy, transport and postal services (Directive 2014/25/EU); and
- a directive on the award of concession contracts (Directive 2014/23/EU).

The 'utilities sectors' are covered by separate and more flexible rules, which apply not only to traditional public purchasers (the state, municipalities, regions, etc.), but also to public or private companies. Unlike the 'public procurement' Directive, the 'utilities sectors' Directive also applies to contracts awarded by public undertakings (on which public purchasers have a dominant influence), and to those awarded by private entities which have obtained the exclusive or special right to operate in one of the sectors concerned.

In addition to regulating public procurement within the EU market, the EU advocates for an ambitious opening of international public procurement markets outside the EU, and has committed itself to granting market access to its public procurement market for certain foreign goods, services and companies. The EU negotiates both bilateral/regional and plurilateral international agreements.

Services are crucial to the European Internal Market and to the Japanese economy, accounting for around 80% of EU employment and value added.  The EU and Japan already export many services to each other, but EU firms still face hurdles in selling their services on the Japanese market. Correspondingly services represent a key area of discussion in the ongoing FTA, plurilateral and multilateral negotiations.

What is covered?

Many different sectors are covered, eg retail and wholesale trade, construction, business/professional services, real estate, tourism and some entertainment services, transport, network utilities, health and financial services, and government services (public administration and education).

Goods and services are increasingly linked together. Access to services is a prerequisite for economic performance of many manufactured products. For example, producers and exporters of textiles, cars or computers cannot be competitive without access to efficient banking, insurance, accountancy, telecoms or transport systems. And the purchase of many products nowadays often comes with a service component.

The rise of cloud computing means that technical infrastructure, platforms and software are increasingly provided as services on a global basis. What used to be hardware installed at the premises of a company is becoming a service provided cross-border.

Services-related policy developments in the EU

In 2006, the EU adopted the Services Directive (Directive 2006/123/EC) to ensure that both consumers and businesses reap the full benefits of the Internal Market by being able to easily offer and buy services. The Directive facilitates the establishment of a business in a Member State, and it also aims at improving the regulatory environment for service providers who want to supply their services across borders to other Member States, without setting up an establishment there. The Services Directive obliges Member States to cut red-tape, increase transparency for undertakings and service recipients, and eliminate unjustified or disproportionate requirements. It applies to all activities and sectors that are not expressly excluded from its scope of application (e.g. financial services or gambling).

Useful links

Services-related policies of the European Commission: DG Trade; DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs  (general policy, postal services; tourism, business services); DG Mobility and Transport (air transport, maritime transport); DG Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union (financial services); DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology (telecommunications). 

Promoting investment flows between the European and Japanese economies is increasingly at the forefront of the EU-Japan relationship and is currently being discussed in the ongoing FTA negotiations. More investment is of mutual interest. The EU benefits from an open Japanese economy with which European companies can trade smoothly and where they can easily establish branches or subsidiaries to develop their business activities. For Japan, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) plays a crucial role in boosting its economy.

Investment protection provisions in the FTA will encourage investment by guaranteeing that governments will treat investment between the EU and Japan in line with some basic principles which prohibit:

  • discrimination
  • expropriation of foreign investments without compensation
  • denial of justice to foreign investors in domestic courts
  • abusive or arbitrary treatment of EU and Japanese investors in each other's territory.

What is covered?

Free movement of capital is at the heart of the European Single Market and is one of its 'four freedoms'. It enables integrated, open, competitive and efficient European financial markets and services - which bring many advantages to us all. For citizens it means the ability to do many operations abroad, such as opening bank accounts, buying shares in non-domestic companies, investing where the best return is, and purchasing real estate. For companies it principally means being able to invest in and own other European companies and take an active part in their management.

Foreign direct investment is a direct investment into production or business in a country by a company in another country. The EU has long been in the vanguard, promoting investment by European companies and investors into other Member States and third countries, and investment into the EU by third countries. This is in everyone's mutual interest and is all the more important now as the world emerges from the financial crisis and the economic downturn.

Investment-related policies

As investment is part of the EU’s common commercial policy the European Commission may legislate on investment. Its approach is outlined in its paper "Towards a comprehensive European international investment policy". The EU's investment policy is focused on providing EU investors and investments with market access, legal certainty and a stable, predictable, fair and properly regulated environment in which to conduct their business.

As well as ensuring that its markets are as open as possible to stable, secure and beneficial foreign investment, the EU also looks to promote these principles at a global level through international fora and multilateral agreements; bilateral investment dialogues and trade agreements; and through relations with third country investors, and, in particular, Sovereign Wealth Funds.

Useful links

Investment-related policies of the European Commission: DG Trade; DG Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union. Destination Europe: The EU Single Market: An attractive destination for Japanese FDI  (PDF)

The European Union and Japan are like-minded partners, sharing common interests and similar concerns on protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR). Innovation and creativity drive economic growth in both the EU and Japan. They also help give consumers more choice and create jobs.

The EU and Japan already export and import to and from each other many goods and services which depend heavily on intellectual property. But there is room for improvement. In the on-going negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement we want to:

  • raise awareness of the role of IPR in encouraging innovation and creativity
  • protect the people and firms that come up with new ideas and use them to make high quality products by enforcing IPR rules in a balanced way
  • encourage investment in research and development that produces new ideas, and branding of products and services.

What are intellectual property rights?

Intellectual property rights enable authors, artists, designers, inventors and other IPR users to decide how their creations and inventions are used. These rights, most of which are time-limited, are a key incentive to creativity and innovation, and thus improve consumer choice and job creation.

IPR fall into two categories:

(1) Industrial property, which principally comprises:
• patents, meaning new technical inventions;
• trademarks, which can be a word, logo or symbol that competitor companies may not use once it has been protected;
• designs, meaning the outward appearance of a product;
• geographical indications (GIs), which identify a product as originating in a region or locality and whose reputation or quality is essentially attributable to its geographical origin. Geographical Indications are usually geographical names. But non-geographical names can also be protected if they are linked to a particular place.

In the EU-Japan FTA, the EU wants to agree with Japan on some binding commitments on GIs. These include protecting an agreed list of EU GIs, with rules to stop other producers misusing them, and enforcing those rules effectively.

(2) Copyright, covering literary and artistic works such as books, articles, plays, films, musical works, paintings, photographs, sculptures and maps. Rights related to copyright include those of performers and producers of films and rights in sound recordings and broadcasts.

In addition to the rights themselves, ensuring awareness of and respect for intellectual property, alongside appropriate mechanisms for enforcement, are essential links in the invention chain.

 

IPR-related policy developments in the EU

Since 2011, the EU has made significant progress in promoting intellectual property rights which are fit for purpose in the 21st century:
• a unitary patent allowing companies to have a single and affordable patent giving them protection in the EU;
• updated rules on tackling fake products at our borders;
• empowering museums and libraries to digitise Europe’s cultural heritage;
• setting up a platform for stakeholders to discuss and help address IPR infringements, in particular by collecting reliable data.

Improving the protection and enforcement of IPR in third countries is also one of the EU's trade policy objectives. This objective is being pursued inter alia through multilateral (World Trade Organisation and the World Intellectual Property Organisation), and bilateral agreements (FTAs).

 

Useful links

IPR-related policies of the European Commission: DG Trade; DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs; DG Agriculture and Rural Development; European Patent Office, The Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market

The EU and Japan share a vision of agriculture aiming not only at feeding people but also at preserving the landscape, the environment and traditions. As such, the EU is actively engaging in meaningful exchanges with Japan bilaterally, in high-level meetings in Tokyo and Brussels, and multilaterally, in the WTO committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, the World Organisation for Animal Health, CODEX Alimentarius Commission, Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, and agricultural negotiations within the WTO framework.

In addition to these fora, agriculture and food safety are an important part of the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations which were initiated in 2013.

Open trade is of utmost importance to the European agricultural sector since the farmers' and producers' livelihood depends on it. European producers are well recognised all over the world for their high quality food and beverages.

Japan is a major food importer and its food market is one of the biggest ones in the world. However, high entry barriers and high tariffs maintained on products of export interest to the EU limit the variety of products that EU producers can export to Japan. This results in a limited range of European food products on offer in Japan and also in high consumer prices.

In the FTA negotiations with Japan the EU's aim is to increase transparency and to create clear regulatory frameworks so that European companies will have easier access to the market and that the EU market share increases to its rightful level.

Japan itself has recently become more focused on improving the competitiveness of its agricultural sector and increasing its exports of agricultural and foodstuff products. As Japan begins to appreciate the possibilities for economic growth that trade opportunities offer also to the agricultural sector it will discover that gaining access to the markets of others is not a one way road. Instead of shielding the agricultural sector from trade opening, well designed agricultural policies need to be in place so that the agricultural sector can compete and reap the benefits of the trade opening on its own merits.

In case of the EU, the Common Agricultural Policy, CAP, and the major reforms undertaken since the 1980's have enabled the EU to participate in major trade negotiations and they continue to do so also today.

Approval of food additives

Food Safety is one of the major topics of the FTA negotiation between the EU and Japan. The Japanese list of food additives needs a major update and alignment with international standards. In December 2002, the Japanese government identified 46 priority food additives "whose safety is globally confirmed and which are widely used outside Japan". Although these substances have already been evaluated by the Joint WHO/FAO Expert Committee on Food Additives and are therefore approved and used in many countries including EU Member States and the US, the Japanese Government maintains that these substances should be evaluated individually on the basis of specific Japanese criteria. While after more than 10 years, the approval process of the 46 priority additives is close to being completed, a significant number of other substances need to be approved before they can be used in Japan. Until this happens, many top quality and perfectly safe European food products cannot enter the Japanese market.

Trade in beef and beef products

Until recently, an issue of concern was related to European beef exports to Japan. EU beef was banned from the Japanese market for more than ten years. But starting from 2013, Japan has lifted its ban on imports of beef from France, the Netherlands, Ireland, Poland, Denmark, Sweden and more recently from Italy. All this sends an encouraging signal to other EU Member States seeking to apply to export beef to Japan, and whose equally high sanitary status has already been internationally recognised by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). As the EU and Japan are engaged in the FTA negotiations, this development shows that non-tariff barriers can be overcome on the Japanese market.

Information related to the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power station

EU Measures on import of food and feed originating in or consigned from Japan

The Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/6 of 5 January 2016 imposes special conditions for the import of feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power station. The regulation, which has replaced the previous Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 322/2014, is available at the following link.

The following are excluded from the application of the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/6:

(a) Products which have been harvested and/or processed before 11 March 2011;

(b) Personal consignments of feed and food of animal origin which are covered by Article 2 of Commission Regulation (EC) 206/2009(http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32009R0206&from=en. For more information see the following link;

(c) Personal consignments of feed and food other than of animal origin which are non-commercial and destined to a natural person for personal consumption and use only. In case of doubt, the burden of proof lies with the recipient of the consignment. For more information see the following link.

For further enquiries, please contact delegation-japan@eeas.europa.eu or have a look at the frequently asked questions.

External links:

DG AGRI website, About CAP 2014-2020 in detail , DG Health and Food Safety, Food safety site, European Food Safety Authority, Import Conditions to the EU

Several private and public-sector networks and initiatives bring together European and Japanese businesses in Japan. The EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation and the EU-Japan Business Round Table work with SMEs and large companies, the European Business Council brings together European companies in Japan to make policy recommendations. The EU's Executive Training Programme helps European businesses increase their knowledge of, and trade with, Japan.

 

EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation

The Centre promotes all forms of industrial, trade and investment cooperation between Japan and the EU, and aims to strengthen the technological capabilities and the competitiveness of the European and Japanese industrial systems. As a joint venture of Japan and the EU it has offices in Tokyo and Brussels and its services include access to training, including the Vulcanus in Europe and Vulcanus in Japan schemes for young engineers. It is also the contact point for Horizon 2020 in Japan, and offers various other information services. It organizes the annual Business Round Table (BRT).

 

EU-JAPAN CENTRE

 

EU-Japan Business Round Table (BRT)

The Business Round Table is made up of around 50 CEOs/senior executives from leading EU and Japanese firms who meet once a year to review all aspects of business cooperation and to make policy recommendations to the European Commission and Japanese government. It aims to contribute to the economic success of Japanese and European industry. It identifies mutually-beneficial initiatives and keeps track of progress achieved by the European and Japanese administrations. Its discussions cover various topics including the economy, the business environment and current issues.

 

European Business Council (EBC)

The European Business Council (EBC) is the trade policy arm of sixteen European National Chambers of Commerce and Business Associations in Japan and is registered as the EU Chamber of Commerce in Japan. It represents over 2,500 local European companies and individuals and works closely with the Delegation, the national European Embassies and business organisations to co-ordinate policy proposals. It makes suggestions to the Japanese government on how to create an open environment for trade and investment in Japan. The EBC, with its 28 industry committees, produces an annual report on the Japanese business environment, outlining the key issues of concern. Past issues of the report are available here.

 

EU Green Gateway to Japan Programme

Between 1994 and 2014 the EU Gateway to Japan programme has helped to boost trade and investment between Europe and Japan. From 2017 to 2019, the EU will implement the " EU Green Gateway to Japan Programme", which will focus on promoting trade and investment of green technologies in the following 5 sectors: construction, environment, energy, medical devices and railway components, parts and services. Twelve missions shall be organised during the 3 years of the project with the first two missions taking place in the second half of 2017.

Further information on the EU Green Gateway Programme will soon be available at the following websites: http://www.eu-gateway.eu and http://www.eu-gateway.jp

For inquiries, please send an email to: delegation-japan-gateway@eeas.europa.eu

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