Countries and regions
On 25 March 2013, the EU and Japan officially launched the negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement. The negotiations with Japan will address a number of EU concerns, including non-tariff barriers and the further opening of the public procurement market. The first round of negotiations was held in Brussels on 15-19 April 2013.
In July 2012, the European Commission asked the EU Member States for their agreement to open the negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with Japan. On that occasion, an impact assessment of the future Free Trade Agreement was released. Later that year, the Council decided to give the Commission 'the green light' to start these negotiations.
- 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 world 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 and transport equipment and chemical products.
- EU exports to Japan are dominated by machinery and transport equipment, chemical products and agricultural products.
EU-Japan "trade in goods" statistics
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EU-Japan "trade in services" statistics
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Foreign direct investment
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EU and Japan
A future Free Trade Agreement with Japan
- At the Summit held on 28 May 2011, the EU and Japan agreed to work towards a new framework for the bilateral relations and concurred on the desirability to pursue a Free Trade Agreement. A joint scoping exercise was conducted on the scope and level of ambition of a future Free Trade Agreement. It defines a number of non-tariff barriers that are considered by the EU as obstacles in accessing the Japanese market.
- Following the successful completion of the scoping exercise, in July 2012 the Commission has approved a recommendation for a Council Decision to launch negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with Japan.
- In November 2012, the Council authorised the Commission to start the negotiations. The first round was held in Brussels on 15-19 April 2013.
As a highly developed economy and major global trader and investor, Japan is an important partner for the EU. Japan is the world's third largest national economy.
The trade relationship between Europe and Japan has traditionally been characterised by strong trade surpluses in favor of Japan. Trade figures have become much more balanced recently, but Japan continues to be a country where, due to specific structural features of Japanese society and the economy, doing business or investing is often difficult.
The EU and Japan have a number of informal dialogues in many trade related areas:
- A Cooperation Framework aimed at promoting two-way investment via concrete actions exists since 2004.
- The EU-Japan Business Dialogue Round Table - established in 1999 - allows for a dialogue and an exchange of views between both business communities.
- Since 1979 the European Commission has encouraged European enterprises' efforts to penetrate the Japanese market and given them concrete assistance through the promotion programmes such as Executive Training Programme or EU Gateway Programme
Four important agreements have so far been finalized between the EU and Japan.
- The EU-Japan Mutual Recognition Agreement which entered into force on 1 January 2002, allows for conformity assessments in four product areas: telecommunications terminal equipment and radio equipment, electrical products, laboratory practices for chemicals and manufacturing practices for pharmaceutical.
- An Agreement on Co-operation on Anti-competitive Activities - adopted by the EU Council on 16 June 2003 - aims to facilitate EU-Japan trade and investment by securing a level-playing field between in- and outsiders.
- A Science and Technology Agreement between the EU and Japan was signed on 30 November 2009.
- The Agreement on Co-operation and Mutual Administrative Assistance (CCMAA) between the EU and Japan entered into force on 1 February 2008.
Trading with Japan
- Rules and requirements for trading with Japan
- Importing into the EU from Japan
- EU trade defence measures on imports from Japan
- Exporting from the EU to Japan
- The EU is present on the ground in Japan
- Trade relations are part of the EU's overall political and economic relations with Japan
- Japan is a member of the World Trade Organisation