Abe cabinet approves completion of Japan-EU FTA ratification

TOKYO, Dec. 22 ― The trade agreement between Japan and the EU is set to enter into force in February 2019, after being approved by both parliaments this month.

Japan’s cabinet on Dec. 21 approved the completion of the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) ratification procedure, after the Japanese parliament had voted in favor of the mega free trade deal earlier this month.

With the European Parliament and the EU council have also ratified the deal, it will come into force on Feb. 1, 2019.

The new EPA will eliminate 82 percent of tariffs on EU’s agricultural exports to Japan.

It will also give EU food exporters greater access to the Japanese market, including sensitive products such as cheese and pork, and deliver an advantage over competitors from other countries.

The Japanese agriculture ministry has estimated that the Japan-EU EPA would reduce the country’s agricultural production by as much as 110 billion yen, due to an expected decline in the prices as well as products supplied to food processors.

And the new EPA with the EU will follow the entry into force of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without the U.S., known as TPP-11, which took effect on Dec. 30, 2018.

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