Positive conclusion of EU-Japan free trade agreement

EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Japanese foreign minister Taro Kono have announced the positive conclusion of four years’ negotiations between the two countries.

The EU and Japan have formalised a free trade agreement that will provide access to EU wines and dismantle the technical barriers that are currently hindering the wine trade.

‘This agreement represents the most significant and far-reaching deal ever concluded by the EU in agri-food trade. It will provide huge growth opportunities for our agri-food exporters in a very large, mature and sophisticated market. We have been successful in developing a model free trade agreement that fits our export profile, while still delivering a mutually beneficial agreement with our partner,’ said Phil Hogan, EU commissioner for agriculture and rural development.

‘Today, Japan is the fifth largest export market for EU wines – but we can do much better. Once entered into force, the agreement will improve access for our wines and will level the playing field with our main competitors in this key market,’ said Jean-Marie Barillère, president of Comité Européen des Entreprises Vin (CEEV). ‘This agreement will boost our exports to Japan and will enhance our position as export leaders,’ he added.

The agreement means that wines and whiskies exported to Japan will be protected under the same EU geographical indications as used in Europe. The agreement offers preferential access to the Japanese market, eliminating an import tariff on goods into the country.

‘Trade agreements are critical components of the competitiveness of EU wines in the international marketplace,’ concluded Dr Ignacio Sánchez Recarte, secretary general of CEEV.