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EU approves trade pact with Japan


The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement eliminates most of the 1 billion euros currently paid by European companies in Japanese import tariffs.

The European Parliament on Wednesday approved a new trade agreement with Japan and will enter into force on Feb. 1.

Europe’s approval of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement follows a similar decision recently taken by Japan’s National Diet, which allows for ratification of the agreement.

Once the trade agreement takes effect, “EU companies, farmers, workers and consumers will start reaping the benefits of simpler and faster trade between the EU and Japan,” the European Commission said in a statement.

The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement will remove most of the 1 billion euros ($1.13 billion) in import duties paid annually by EU companies exporting to Japan, as well as a number of other regulatory hurdles, for example on car exports.

The trade pact also will ensure wider duty-free access for the EU’s agricultural sector to Japan’s consumer market. For example, duties on EU-produced cheeses, such as gouda and cheddar, which are currently taxed by Japan at nearly 30 percent, and Japan’s 15 percent wine import tariffs will be eliminated immediately upon the agreement entering into force. Europe’s beef and pork producers are expected to gain increased access to the Japanese market.

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