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The Commission today presented the outcome of negotiations for the Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan and the trade and investment agreements with Singapore to the Council. This is the first step towards the signature and conclusion of these agreements.
A swift conclusion and a quick implementation of the most important trade agreement ever negotiated by the EU was a personal commitment undertaken by the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe. During a bilateral Summit and at the margins of a G7 Summit, both leaders provided political leadership at the highest level in order to accelerate and finalise negotiations in 2017.
The Japan agreement is the biggest bilateral trade partnership ever negotiated by the European Union. The Economic Partnership Agreement will open huge market opportunities for both sides, strengthen cooperation between Europe and Japan in a range of areas, reaffirm their shared commitment to sustainable development, and include for the first time a specific commitment to the Paris climate agreement. It will remove the vast majority of customs duties that cost EU companies exporting to Japan €1 billion a year. The agreement will also eliminate a number of long-standing regulatory barriers, such as double testing and overlapping bureaucracy. It will open up the Japanese market of 127 million consumers to key EU agricultural exports, protect over 200 traditional European regional food and drink products in Japan (the so-called Geographical Indications) and increase EU export opportunities in a range of other sectors, including the ability for European companies to bid for public contracts in many Japanese cities.
The EU and Japan are also in the final stages of negotiation of a Strategic Partnership Agreement. Upon entry into force, it will upgrade the political relations between the two sides by reinforcing political dialogue, affirming shared values and common principles, and enabling closer cooperation to tackle common challenges, bilaterally and in multilateral fora.