At the 24th Summit between the European Union and Japan, held in Brussels, leaders reached a political agreement in principle on two landmark agreements, the Economic Partnership Agreement and the Strategic Partnership Agreement, which will bring huge benefits to the populations of both the European Union and Japan and represents a significant step in relations.
The European Union was represented at the Summit by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker and the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, whilst Japan was represented by its Prime Minister, Shinzō Abe. The Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström and the Foreign Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, also participated.
The European Union and Japan have issued a Joint Summit Statement, though Juncker summarised it, saying “we agreed in principle on a future Economic Partnership Agreement. The depth of this agreement goes beyond free trade. Its impact goes far beyond our shores. It makes a statement about the future of open and fair trade in today’s world. It sets the standard for others.”
“As far as we are concerned, there is no protection in protectionism. Only by working together will we be able to set global standards when it comes to safety, environmental or consumer protection,” continued the President of the European Commission.
“there is no protection in protectionism. Only by working together will we be able to set global standards when it comes to safety, environmental or consumer protection,”
The Economic Partnership agreement between the European Union and Japan will be the most important bilateral trade agreement ever concluded by the European Union and, as such, will for the first time include a specific commitment to the Paris climate agreement.
For the EU and its Member States, it will remove the vast majority of duties paid by EU companies – which sum up to €1 billion annually, will open the Japanese market to key EU agricultural exports, and will increase opportunities in a range of sectors. It follows the highest standards of labour, environmental and consumer protection and has a dedicated chapter on sustainable development. It also builds on and reinforces the high standards for the protection of personal data that both, the EU and Japan, have recently entrenched in their data protection laws.
Once in force, the Strategic Partnership Agreement will provide a legally binding framework for cooperation between the European Union and Japan, and will provide strategic direction and coherence our existing and future common work. The Agreement will allow the EU and Japan to strengthen the existing, successful cooperation across a wide range of sectors and also open up cooperation in new areas.
The Agreement covers bilateral issues but also regional and global challenges including climate change, security, disaster relief, science, technology and innovation, environment and energy.
At the Summit, leaders discussed bilateral issues, including measures to strengthen the EU-Japan partnership on security, and cooperation in the fields of energy, science and technology and development.
A Memorandum of Cooperation between the EU and Japan on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) has been initiated and will be signed by Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and Mr Hiroshige Seko, Japanese Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry on the 11th of July in Brussels. As the EU and Japan taken together account for nearly 50% of overall global LNG consumption, reinforced cooperation between the EU and Japan will promote the liquidity, flexibility and transparency of the global LNG market.
Since January 2017, the EU and Japan have been in a dialogue to promote high data protection standards. The aim is to bridge data protection laws through a so called “adequacy decision”. Earlier this week Commissioner Jourová took stock of progress in this dialogue with Japanese data protection Commissioner Haruhi Kumazawa. After the 6th of July summit, President Juncker and Prime Minister Abe issued 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.
“EU-Japan will support multilateral institutions, rules-based international order, global prosperity, security and stability and free and fair trade.”
President Juncker, President Tusk and Prime Minister Abe have also issued a joint statement on North Korea, in light of North Korea’s continued nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches, including the recent launch of a ballistic missile of possible intercontinental range, in flagrant violation of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions.
Among regional and foreign policy issues, leaders addressed recent developments in EU’s and Japan’s respective neighbourhoods, including Ukraine, Syria, as well as in the East and South China seas.
Leaders also discussed the shared commitment to strengthen cooperation on global issues, such as climate change, migration and refugee crisis and the fight against terrorism.
The Summit confirmed EU-Japan will support multilateral institutions, rules-based international order, global prosperity, security and stability and free and fair trade.