The EU-Japan EPA is expected to boost trade in goods and services and create many opportunities for EU SMEs: tariffs on more than 90% of Japanese imports from the EU will be eliminated as soon as the EPA enters into force. This will cover a wide range of sectors covering agriculture and food, industrial products (including textiles, clothing, etc.) as well as forestry and fisheries. In addition, non-tariff barriers to motor vehicles, medical devices and “quasi-drugs” should be significantly reduced. Finally, the agreement will facilitate the export of services to the Japanese market and will cover a wide range of sectors, from telecommunications to the financial sector to postal services. The Framework Partnership Agreement BETWEEN the EU and Japan is also on the agenda again, limited. The agreement – sometimes on, and then outside the bilateral framework negotiations between the EU and Japan over the past three to five years – would create the legal framework for institutionalised Japanese contributions to the EU`s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions. However, EU sources warn that the agreement still has a long way to go before it is adopted, with the two sides still not agreeing on the terms and conditions of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces` (SDF) contribution to CSDP missions. Brussels and Tokyo, however, have not yet abandoned the GPA and are now trying to focus on Japanese contributions to civilian CSDP missions. This agreement is particularly beneficial for French farmers and exporters: Japan is France`s sixth largest trading partner outside the European Union. About 8,000 French companies are already exporting there, many of them the leading exporters selling more than 6 billion euros of goods.
Due to its size and the high standards of its consumers, the Japanese market offers considerable potential for French products. On 8 and 9 March, the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) organised a seminar in Brussels and London aimed at the “Euro-Japan Business Seminar – Future visions of EU-Japan partnerships for economic growth”. European and Japanese science, business and government intellectuals gave lectures on the EU-Japan Economic Integration Agreement (EIA). [The agreement is also called the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) or Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Due to the highly perceived loss of U.S. global leadership in international politics and security under the Trump administration, coupled with an authoritarian policy of strong masters in countries like Russia and China, the liberal world order is under enormous pressure. This is one of the main reasons why the EU and Japan have concluded – at least on paper – the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between the EU and Japan. The bilateral framework agreement covers cooperation between the EU and Japan in the fields of international politics, economy and security. It was signed and adopted in July 2018 alongside the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and Japan. While the agreements indicate positive intent, some of the following questions arise: where are we today in terms of implementation? What are the priority themes and areas that Tokyo and Brussels want to address? And what is the likelihood that bilateral consultations and dialogues will be followed in the coming months and years by a common EU-Japan policy? In order to raise awareness of the possibilities offered by this agreement and to help EU SMEs to use them, the EU-Japan Centre has set up a CEPOL helpdesk to help and guide EU SMEs in finding relevant information. The EPO Helpdesk answers EPO-related questions, organises webinars and publishes fact sheets and/or a practical guide on a particular topic or sector.
In order to raise awareness of the opportunities offered by this agreement and to help EU SMEs to exploit them, the EU-Japan Centre has set up an EPO helpdesk to help and guide EU SMEs in finding relevant information. . . .