EU-Japan summit will take place in Brussels

Main topics of discussion: economic ties, strategic partnership, preparation of June G20 meeting

Photo: EU Handshake between Donald Tusk, European Council President, by Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission President, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, during the summit in 2018.

Trade, strategic cooperation in connectivity, data protection and climate change, preparation of June G20 meeting are among the main items on the agenda of the EU-Japan summit that will take place today afternoon in Brussels. At this top-level meeting the Union will be represented by Donald Tusk, European Council President, and by Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission President, and Japan - by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Japan is a very important strategic, like-minded partner and the ties between the two highly developed economies are going from strength to strength.

In the work of the summit will take part EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, EC Vice President Jyrki Katainen and EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom. This meeting is continuation of the very successful summit last year in July when were sealed the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the EU-Japan strategic partnership agreement.

Besides many other topics, the leader’s meeting and the immediately following plenary will also take stock of the first impact the two agreements that both entered into force already on 1 February this year, with a note that the Strategic partnership agreement still applies just partly. Giving new impulse to the ongoing negotiations on a high standard investment protection agreement will be important part of the talks.

Even though applied for less than three months, the economic deal shows a rather big impact on liberalising EU-Japan trade where there are no customs duties now on more than 90%of Japan’s imports from the EU. Moreover, it is the biggest agreement ever negotiated by the EU and the first that includes a specific commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement.

When the agreement entered into force EC President Jean-Claude Juncker commented that Europe and Japan are sending a message to the world about the future of open and fair trade. We are opening a new marketplace home to 635 million people and almost a third of the world's GDP, he stated remarking that it will give small businesses on both sides the chance to branch out to a completely new market and will save European companies 1 billion euro in duties every year and “turbo-boost the trade we already do together.”

According to the estimates, with the fully implementation of the agreement will be removed customs duties on 97% of goods imported from the EU. The deal scraps as well a score of long-standing non-tariff barriers, for example by endorsing international standards on cars. It will also break down barriers for key EU food and drink exporters and will rise export opportunities in many other sectors.

The export of European companies to Japan was €64,7 billion in goods for 2018 and €34,7 billion in services for 2017, the annual trade between the two partners could increase by nearly €36 billion.

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