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The EU has finalised negotiations for a trade agreement with Japan. An agreement in principle was reached on 7 July 2017 and negotiations were finalised on 8 December 2017.

An in-depth analysis of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was carried out for the European Commission and was published in 2016.

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

A more general Strategic Partnership Agreement between the EU and Japan is being negotiated in parallel with the EPA.

Trade picture

  • Japan is the EU’s second-biggest trading partner in Asia after China.
  • Together the EU and Japan account for about a quarter of the world's GDP.
  • 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 2016-2018, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2016 66.0 58.0 -8.0
2017 68.9 60.5 -8.4
2018 70.4 64.7 -5.6

EU-Japan: Trade in services

Trade in services 2015-2017, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2015 16.3 29.2 12.9
2016 18.5 31.6 13.1
2017 18.3 34.7 16.3

EU-Japan: Foreign direct investment

Foreign direct investment 2017, € billions
Year Inward stocks Outward stocks Balance
2017 228.9 99.4 -129.5

Date of retrieval: 17/04/2019

More statistics on Japan

EU and Japan

The trade relationships between the EU and Japan have usually been characterised by big trade surpluses in favour of Japan.
Trade figures have recently become more balanced, but Japan continues to be a country where doing business or investing is often challenging due to the features of the Japanese society and economy.
To make the trade relationships between the EU and Japan easier, some 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: allows for a dialogue and an exchange of views between EU and Japanese businesses.
  • The Executive Training Programme and the EU Gateway Programme: encourages European enterprises to penetrate the Japanese market and gives them assistance .
  • The EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation promotes all forms of industrial, trade and investment cooperation between the EU and Japan by helping EU and Japanese businesses exchange experience and know-how.

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

Trading with Japan