Commission proposes signature and conclusion of Japan and Singapore agreements
The European Commission presented today 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.
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said: "The step we are taking today paves the way for our companies and citizens to start benefitting from the full potential of the Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan already in the coming year. Europe believes in open and fair trade, based on a global rulebook. Our economy depends on it, our companies thrive off it and our consumers expect it. Along with like-minded partners around the world it helps us create jobs and set standards both at home and abroad. Today we take a step forwards towards concluding agreements with two of our closest Asian partners, Japan and Singapore. The impact of these agreements will go far beyond our respective shores - it sends a clear and unambiguous message that we stand together against protectionism and in defence of multilateralism. This is more important than ever."
The agreement with Japan is the biggest bilateral trade partnership ever negotiated by the European Union and 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 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.
The trade and investment agreements with Singapore are the EU's first completed bilateral deals with a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Within ASEAN, Singapore is by far the EU's largest partner with a total bilateral trade in goods of €53.3 billion (2017) and in services of €44.4 billion (2016). Over 10,000 EU companies are established in Singapore and use it as a hub to serve the whole Pacific region. With these agreements, the EU has therefore made an important stride towards setting high standards and rules for the important and fast-growing Southeast Asian region. The deals also represent the first building block of a future region-to-region trade and investment agreement between the EU and ASEAN. Singapore is already the number one location for European investment in Asia, with investment between the two growing rapidly in recent years. Bilateral investment stocks reached €256 billion in 2016.
Once approved by the Council, the agreements will be sent to the European Parliament, aiming for the entry into force of the trade agreements with Japan and Singapore before the end of the current mandate of the European Commission in 2019.
18 April 2018