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EU-Japan trade pact on track to enter into force in Feb


The European Parliament recently approved the European Union (EU)-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement. The former, negotiated by the European Commission, is the first ever to include an explicit reference to the Paris climate agreement and the latter, the first ever bilateral framework pact between both sides. The trade agreement will create an open trading zone covering 635 million people and almost one third of the world's total gross domestic product and remove tariffs on industrial products in sectors where the EU is very competitive, such as cosmetics, chemicals, textiles and clothing, according to an EU press release. The trade agreement will deliver significant and tangible benefits for companies and citizens in Europe and Japan, said European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. Today's vote follows a similar decision taken by Japan's National Diet, thus concluding the parliamentary ratification of the agreement by both partners. It paves the way for the agreement to enter into force on 1 February 2019. The trade agreement will remove the vast majority of the €1 billion of duties paid annually by EU companies exporting to Japan, as well as a number of long-standing regulatory barriers, for example on car exports. It will also open up the Japanese market of 127 million consumers to key EU agricultural products and increase EU export opportunities in many other sectors. The Strategic Partnership Agreement will lead to further deepening of EU-Japan relations, strengthened foreign and security policy dialogue, and engagement across a wide range of global, regional and bilateral thematic issues. It will boost dialogue and cooperation between the European Union and Japan on topics of mutual interest such as foreign and security policy, connectivity, climate change, environment, energy, cyber issues, employment and social affairs, as well as people-to-people exchanges. (DS)

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