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Bilateral relations > Japan

Competition: EU and Japan start negotiations for a 2nd generation cooperation agreement in the field of competition

The EU and Japan held on 19 and 20 October 2017 in Tokyo the first round of negotiations to review the 2003 EU-Japan Agreement on cooperation on anticompetitive activities. This 'first generation' agreement contains various instruments of cooperation in the area of competition policy but does not allow EU and Japanese competition authorities to exchange confidential information, unless they have obtained express waivers from the source of the information. The EU and Japan have now agreed to start negotiating a 'second generation' agreement to further enhance their cooperation in the field of competition, in particular by facilitating the exchange of information obtained by their respective competition authorities during the course of an investigation. The Council gave a mandate to the Commission to start negotiations with Japan in April 2017. Both sides will continue to work closely together to make progress in the negotiations.

Cooperation with the Japan Fair Trade Commission is based on the Cooperation Agreement signed in July 2003.

The Agreement provides for:

  • the reciprocal notification of cases under investigation by either authority, where they may affect the important interests of the other party;
  • the possibility of coordination by the two authorities of their enforcement activities, as well as of rendering assistance to each other;
  • the possibility for one party to request the other to take enforcement action, and for one party to take into account the important interests of the other party in the course of its enforcement activities; and
  • the exchange of information between the parties, while not affecting either party's confidentiality obligations with respect to such information.
  • regular bilateral meetings to exchange information on current enforcement activities and priorities, on economic sectors of common interest, to discuss policy changes which either party is considering, and to discuss other matters of mutual interest relating to the application of competition laws.

Article 36 also refers to the subsequent adoption of implementing provisions on competition, but no such provisions are currently in force.

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Related links
European Commission - Trade - Japan
European External Action Service – Japan