On 17 July 2018, the European Union and Japan signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the biggest trade agreement ever negotiated by the EU that will create an open trade zone covering over 600 million people.
The agreement entered into force on 1st February 2019.
The EPA contains "a number of provisions that will simplify trade and investment procedures, reduce export and investment related costs and will therefore enable more small firms to do business in both markets. Among the expected benefits are increased transparency, less burdensome technical rules, compliance requirements, customs procedures and rules of origin, enhanced protection of intellectual property rights and geographical indications, better access to procurement tender procedures, as well as a special chapter to enable SMEs to maximise the benefits from the EPA". (Source: Proposal for a COUNCIL DECISION on the conclusion of the Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Japan - COM(2018) 192 final)
The EU-Japan EPA is expected to boost trade in goods and services and will create many opportunities for EU SMEs: tariffs on more than 90% of Japan's imports from the EU were eliminated at entry into force of the EPA. Over the next 15 years from the start of the agreement 99% of all tariffs will be removed. This will affect a wide range of sectors covering agriculture and food products, industrial products (including textiles, clothing...), as well as forestry and fisheries. In addition, non-tariff barriers are expected to be substantially reduced for motor vehicles, medical devices, and the "quasi drugs" sectors. Finally the agreement is facilitating the export of services to the Japanese market as well as affecting a significant number of sectors from telecommunications to postal services and the financial sector.
Our EPA Helpdesk released two handbook to help EU companies export/import taking full profit from the EPA.
The EU-Japan EPA Helpdesk also replied many enquiries that are available in our dedicated Q&A page
If you have other enquiries, please use the EPA Helpdesk webform here.
Since 2017 the European Commission started releasing an annual report on the impact on EU import/exports of all the free trade agreements the EU has signed.
The EU-Japan EPA is mentioned starting from the 2019 report.
Annual reports focusing on the EU-Japan EPA progress are also available.
Some reports focusing on specific sectors are also released on an aperiodically.
In below link you may find the latest statistics data about the ratio of preferential tariff use compared to the total value of imports in the EU and Japan.
About the agreement:
Delegation of the European Union to Japan:
DG Trade Helpdesk:
The text of the agreement is available in all the official languages of the EU and in Japanese. (Click on the flag corresponding to your preferred language.)