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Japan

The 18th round of negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Japan took place in Tokyo in April 2017. Both sides work to conclude the negotiations in 2017.

A Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) of the EU-Japan FTA was carried out for the European Commission and was published in 2016.

The EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement negotiations were officially launched on 25 March 2013, after the release of an impact assessment of the future Free Trade Agreement in July 2012.

A Strategic Partnership Agreement between the EU and Japan is being negotiated in parallel with the Free Trade Agreement.

Trade picture

  • Japan is the EU’s second biggest trading partner in Asia after China.
  • Together the EU and Japan account for more than a third of the world's GDP.
  • Japan remains a major trade partner for the EU and Europe is a very important market for Japan. Japan is also a major investor in the EU.
  • Imports from Japan to the EU are dominated by machinery, electrical machinery, motor vehicles, optical and medical instruments, and chemicals.
  • EU exports to Japan are dominated by motor vehicles, machinery, pharmaceuticals,  optical and medical instruments, and electrical machinery.

EU-Japan: Trade in goods

Trade in goods 2014-2016, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2014 56.6 53.3 -3.3
2015 59.9 56.5 -3.3
2016 66.4 58.1 -8.2

EU-Japan: Trade in services

Trade in services 2013-2015, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2013 14.8 24.3 9.6
2014 15.0 26.1 11.1
2015 15.8 28.0 12.1

EU-Japan: Foreign direct investment

Foreign direct investment 2015, € billions
Year Inward stocks Outward stocks Balance
2015 175.8 87.7 -88.1

Date of retrieval: 15/02/2017

More statistics on Japan

EU and Japan

As a highly developed economy and a major global trader and investor, Japan is an important partner for the EU. Japan is the world's fourth largest national economy.

The trade relationships between the EU and Japan have been traditionally characterised by big trade surpluses in favour of Japan. Trade figures have become much more balanced in recent years, but Japan continues to be a country where, due to the specific features of the Japanese society and economy, doing business or investing is often challenging.

To facilitate the trade relationships between the EU and Japan, a number of informal bilateral dialogues have been established:

  • A Cooperation Framework aimed at promoting two-way investment via concrete actions exists since 2004.
  • The EU-Japan Business Round Table - established in 1999 - allows for a dialogue and an exchange of views between EU and Japanese businesses.
  • Since 1979 the European Commission has been encouraging European enterprises to penetrate the Japanese market and has given them concrete assistance through promotion programmes such as the Executive Training Programme and the EU Gateway Programme.
  • The EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation is a unique venture between the European Commission and the Japanese Government. It was established in 1987. The Centre promotes all forms of industrial, trade and investment cooperation between the EU and Japan. By facilitating exchanges of experience and know-how between EU and Japanese businesses the Centre helps to improve the competitiveness of both EU and Japanese companies.

Four important agreements have been concluded to date between the EU and Japan.

Trading with Japan

More information on EU-Japan FTA