EU-Japan trade agreement enters into force
As of 1 February, the Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Japan enters into force and 90% of import taxes have been wiped out immediately. This is the biggest trade deal ever made between two partners and the agricultural sector, including meat, is going to take advantage of the partnership. The Economic Partnership Agreement removes the vast majority of the €1 billion of duties paid annually by EU companies exporting to Japan. Once the agreement is fully implemented, Japan will have scrapped customs duties on 97% of goods imported from the EU.
"Europe and Japan are sending a message to the world about the future of open and fair trade. We are opening a new marketplace home to 635 million people and almost a third of the world's Gross Domestic Product, bringing the people of Europe and Japan closer together than ever before. The new agreement will give consumers greater choice and cheaper prices; it will protect great European products in Japan and vice-versa, such as the Austrian Tiroler Speck or Kobe Beef; it will give small businesses on both sides the chance to branch out to a completely new market; it will save European companies 1 billion euro in duties every year and turbo-boost the trade we already do together," declared Jean Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission
With regards to agricultural exports from the EU, the agreement will, in particular:
- scrap Japanese duties on many kinds of cheese such as Gouda and Cheddar (which currently are at 29.8%) as well as on wine exports (currently at 15% on average);
- allow the EU to increase its beef exports to Japan substantially, while on pork there will be duty-free trade in processed meat and almost duty-free trade for fresh meat;
- ensure the protection in Japan of more than 200 high-quality European agricultural products, so-called Geographical Indications (GIs), and the protection of a selection of Japanese GIs in the EU.
Annual trade between the EU and Japan could increase by nearly €36 billion once the agreement is implemented in full. "This agreement has it all: it scraps tariffs and contributes to the global rulebook, whilst at the same time demonstrating to the world that we both remain convinced by the benefits of open trade. As of 1 February, European companies will benefit from removed tariffs and simplified customs procedures. It is now up to businesses and individuals to make the very most out of these new trade opportunities. We also count on all EU Member States to spread this message far and wide," added Cecilia Malmstrom, Commissioner for Trade.
China's offer to drop the tariffs on US pork can bring back the smile on the faces of pork produc...