EU and Japan reach free trade deal

At their Summit in Brussels, the European Union and Japan have reached a political agreement on a free-trade deal

After four years of negotiating, the EU and Japan reached a political agreement on a free-trade deal which will remove tariff barriers on 99 per cent of goods traded between the two economies after a transitional period. The political agreement, officially promulgated as an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), however, left untouched the controversional aspects with regard to investment protection. It is said that Japan is not ready to settle on the EU requirement of an independent international investment court. But the EU is pressing to adopt its model to resolve disputes which was designed for the Free Trade Agreement with Canada (CETA).

The question of how the free exchange of data between the EU and Japan can be reconciled with the high European data protection standards also remains to be clarified.The final agreement is to be announced at the end of the year and it is still open whether the agreement has to be ratified by the European Parliament and the Council, or even by national parliaments.

Both sides presented their broad outline of a landmark trade deal as a clear signal against protectionism and free world trade to the G20 summit.