Trade – Signing of economic partnership agreement between EU and Japan (17 July 2018)

France hails the signing on July 17 of the economic partnership agreement between the EU and Japan. In a context of trade tensions, this agreement sends a strong signal by the two great economic powers in support of open, fair international trade, both mutually beneficial and based on stringent standards.

During their meeting on July 13, Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Japanese counterpart, Tarō Kōno, reiterated the prospects created by the agreement establishing an economic zone of 600 million inhabitants, representing some 30% of global GDP.

Japan is France’s sixth-largest trading partner outside of the EU. Eight thousand French companies export to Japan, representing a volume of more than €6 billion; many of these companies are first-time exporters.

This agreement will benefit French farmers and exporters. The increased openness of the Japanese market offers new prospects for our agricultural sectors, especially beef and pork, but also cheese, processed foods, wines and spirits. Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, minister of state for foreign affairs, emphasized this at the first meeting of the international agricultural and agrifoods commission, held on July 13. Indeed, the Japanese market offers great potential for French products, given its size and its demanding consumers. Thanks to provisions on geographic labeling, the agreement signed on July 17 will fully guarantee the protection of numerous French products, such as champagne. It will also allow for greater reciprocity in access to procurement contracts, which will create new prospects for many European companies, especially in the railway sector.

This agreement is also highly ambitious with respect to sustainable development. It includes major European principles on the right to regulate, high standards in regard to environmental and labor protections, and commitments to respect multilateral agreements and to ratify agreements of the International Labor Organization. It promotes action on the climate, includes measures to combat climate change, and requires both parties to implement the Paris Agreement and to cooperate to ensure that trade contributes to lowering carbon emissions.

A strategic partnership agreement was also signed on this occasion. It will expand our cooperation in numerous sectors to meet major global challenges. We are working with Japan, a country that shares our values, both bilaterally and in multilateral forums.