On the eve of the G20 summit in Hamburg, the European Union and Japan reached a political understanding about a new comprehensive free trade agreement. During the EU-Japan Summit, Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, hailed the agreement as “the birth of the world’s largest, free, industrialized economic zone.” EU officials proclaimed it “the most important bilateral trade agreement ever concluded by the EU.”
Update – minutes from the above event are available.
The purpose of this meeting is to brief civil society organisations on the status of the trade negotiations with Japan. On 6 July 2017 the European Union and Japan reached an agreement in principle on the main elements of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement.
A summary of the Commissioner’s presentation is now available.
Vice-President Andrus Ansip, Vice-President Jyrki Katainen and Commissioner Cecilia Malmström spoke this morning at the EU-Japan Business Roundtable – a yearly gathering of businesses and policy makers, alternating between Japan and Brussels. The roundtable was the first opportunity to present to European and Japan business leaders last week’s Economic Partnership Agreement reached with Japan. Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Ansip accentuated in his speech that the EU and Japan can bring their digital cooperation to the next level with free flow of personal data based on converging data protection laws, while Trade Commissioner Malmström noted in her speechthe new opportunities the companies will be able to enjoy after the Economic Partnership Agreement removes 99 per cent of customs duties and reduces unnecessary red tape. This afternoon, Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete will meet Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko to sign a joint Memorandum of Cooperation on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and to exchange views on the state of the EU-Japan energy dialogue. Vice-President Jyrki Katainen will also meet Minister Seko to discuss international trade and investment issues. Later in the day, Minister Seko will additionally meet Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Vĕra Jourová to discuss data protection, adequacy decisions and data flows between Japan and the EU. The EU and Japan have been in a dialogue to promote high data protection standards since January 2017. Last week Commissioner Jourová took stock of progress in this dialogue with Japanese data protection Commissioner Haruhi Kumazawa. Additionally, President Juncker and Prime Minister Abe issued last Thursday a joint declaration, reaffirming the importance of ensuring a high level of privacy and security of personal data as a fundamental right and as a central factor of consumer trust in the digital economy. The aim is to strengthen EU-Japan industrial and digital cooperation in various digital fields, including also topics such as the Internet of Things and eGovernment. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083; Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Christian Wigand – Tel.: +32 229 62253; Inga Höglund – Tel.: +32 229 50698)
Source: European Commission