Japan is one of Germany’s most important trading partners in Asia.
Conversely, Germany is the most important partner country of the island state in Europe.
Since 2009, the trading volume has grown steadily and amounted to about 42.4 billion euros in 2017.
The EU not only has a strong G7 partnership with Japan, but also good economic relations and a growing community of values.
The EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement, which entered into force on 1 February 2019, aims to strengthen the economic and political relations between these two major trading areas as well as the general role of the EU in Asia.
Moreover, the agreement is a strong signal for free trade and against protectionism.
The Federal Government supports the EU’s goal of shaping global trade policy with modern and ambitious free trade agreements and globally implementing high standards, especially in the field of sustainable trade.
A modern agreement with high standards
The negotiations with Japan were officially opened on 25 March 2013.
As trade policy is the responsibility of the EU, the European Commission negotiates with Japan and represents the interests of the EU and its Member States.
A total of 19 rounds of negotiations took place, the last being held from 12 to 30 June 2017.
A political agreement on the agreement was agreed at the 24th EU-Japan Summit on 6 July 2017 and the final conclusion of the negotiations took place on 8 December 2017 announced. On 22 May 2018, after the EU Trade Ministerial Council approved in principle the outcome of the trade agreement, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU Council President Donald Tusk signed the agreement with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on 17 July 2018.
The EU Council approved the agreement on 20 December, after the European Parliament had already agreed by a large majority on 12 December.
The trade agreement therefore entered into force on 1 February 2019.
The Japanese government has repeatedly expressed its interest in a swift conclusion, not least in the context of the United States‘ avoidance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Crucial for the EU and Germany, however, was that they could agree on an overall ambitious free trade agreement in all areas, following similar high standards as set out in the agreement with Canada (CETA).
On conclusion of the negotiations, the EU and Japan have agreed on a modern agreement which, in addition to improved market opening for German companies, also contains high standards of protection for consumers, the environment and employees