Category Archives: Trade Talks

EU publishes key elements of JP-EU trade deal; Tokyo is silent

TOKYO, July 12 — The EU has published an overall picture of the trade deal with Japan after a compromise was reached on increased market access for EU farm products in exchange for Japanese autos. By contrast, Tokyo has no plan to disclose its view, with government officials saying “it’s because the draft has yet to be finalized.” Japan’s opposition parties, including the Democratic Party, say they will demand from the government the same level of disclosure as the EU. The European Commission posted on its website a document, titled Key elements of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, dated on July 6, the day of the announcement made by both … Continue reading

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Japan sets up consolidated cross-agency team on trade deals

TOKYO, July 12 — Following a broad trade accord between Japan and EU, the Japanese government has launched a new consolidated headquarters that presides trade policymaking in a horizontal approach across government agencies. The aim is to facilitate Japan’s early entry into trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The first meeting at the new government headquarters was to take place on July 14 to outline countermeasure programs that help farm producers adjust to increased EU agricultural food products entering Japan. Economic Revitalization Minister Nobuteru Ishihara, who is also the minister in charge of the TPP, said at a press conference on July … Continue reading

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How Japan and the EU agreed on slashing cheese tariffs to seal an EPA

TOKYO, July 8 – “We’ve reached political agreement at ministerial level on an EU-Japan trade deal. We now recommend to leaders to confirm this at summit,” European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom tweeted on July 5 after meeting Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Brussels. The negotiations ended all too soon. The meeting between Kishida and Malmstrom, which some speculated would go on until late at night, was finished in an hour or so. The two announced that they reached consensus on the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement and painted eyes on daruma dolls to mark the achievement. All happened before the delegation of Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers arrived in Brussels. Three days … Continue reading

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【Opinion】 Japan-EU EPA turns a blind eye to the future of Japan’s agriculture (July 7)

[By Shinji Hattori, Professor Emeritus of Toyo University] Why didn’t the negotiators of Japan and the European Union take more time before concluding the Economic Partnership Agreement? I would say they did an extremely sloppy job. Japan agreed to set up a low-tariff import quota of 31,000 tons for EU-made soft cheeses. This is such a large amount, exceeding the amount of annual domestic production of natural cheeses for direct consumption. Cheese is one of the few food products whose domestic consumption is growing. Low-tariff import quota will be also set for European butter and skimmed milk powder. The agreement is sure to have a harmful effect on domestic dairy … Continue reading

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Japan and EU agree mutually protecting food names under GI

TOKYO, July 9 — Tokyo and Brussels have agreed to mutually protect their specialty food names under the geographical indications (GI), one of EU’s key offensive interests, in the Japan-EU trade agreement. Both aim to help farmers exclusively market their products. This will be the first case for Japanese specialty food and beverages to be granted full GI protection in the overseas market. GI is a rule that requires products to come from particular geographical areas and meet various quality criteria in order to be called by its name. Once granted, it allows for regional producers to monopolize the use of famous area names, while other producers have to alter … Continue reading

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