EU-JAPAN : International Summit, Brussels – 11/07/2018

EU and Japan leaders are expected to reaffirm their commitment to the rules-based international order and to free trade. Leaders will sign the EU-Japan economic partnership agreement and the EU-Japan strategic partnership agreement.



EU-Japan summit of 11 July 2018
Background brief


EU and Japan leaders are expected to reaffirm their commitment to the rules-based international order and to free trade.

On this occasion leaders will sign the EU-Japan economic partnership agreement and the EU-Japan strategic partnership agreement.

The free trade agreement will remove most of the duties that EU companies pay annually to export to Japan as well as several regulatory barriers.

The strategic partnership agreement will take the EU’s longstanding partnership with Japan to a new level with deeper and more strategic cooperation.

Strategic cooperation

In addition to trade matters, EU and Japan leaders are expected to discuss closer cooperation in several areas, including:

* security and defence issues

* data protection

* education and research

* climate change

International relations

Leaders are also expected to address regional and international issues such as:

* the situation in Ukraine

* the Middle East

* the South China sea

* the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula

* the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA)

[EU – Japan Summit webpage]

The European Union – Japan summit will take place on 11 July in Brussels. The EU will be represented by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, and by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission. Japan will be represented by Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström will also be present.

The leaders are expected to reaffirm their resolve to work together for the rules-based international order and to promote a free and fair global economy. The summit will be an opportunity to sign the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement [EPA]and the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement [SPA].

The summit, taking place in the Europa Building, will start at 14:30 with a leaders only meeting. This will be followed by a working lunch where leaders are expected to address the geopolitical context following the G7 summit in Canada, as well as regional and international issues of interest. The following plenary session will be devoted to bilateral, global and foreign policy issues. Apart from issues related to the implementation of the EU-Japan EPA and SPA, leaders are expected to discuss closer cooperation in security and defence matters, data protection as well as the world economy, international trade and climate change. They will also focus on developments on the Korean Peninsula, Middle East, the East and South China Seas and the Iran nuclear deal [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action]

A signature ceremony on the EU-Japan EPA and SPA will take place at 16.40.

Economic Partnership Agreement

The leaders will sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) at the summit. On this occasion they are also expected to emphasize the importance of free, fair and rules-based trade as an important tool to spur job creation and promote prosperity in our societies. The leaders are also expected to warn against protectionism.

The EU-Japan free trade agreement is a highly ambitious and comprehensive trade agreement. When fully implemented, 99% of the tariffs applied on EU exports to Japan, which currently amount to about €1 billion, will be removed [see infographic]

The agreement will create sizeable new opportunities for EU agricultural exports, removing the existing Japanese tariffs on products such as cheeses or wines, while protecting EU intellectual property rights on Japanese markets. It will also open up services markets and significantly increase EU companies’ access to Japan’s procurement bids.

The EPA is based on the highest standards of labour, safety, environment and consumer protection. It is also the first trade agreement including a specific commitment to the [Paris climate agreement]

Trade negotiations with Japan had been conducted since 2013. At the EU-Japan summit of 6 July 2017,both parties reached agreement in principle on the main elements of EPA. Negotiationson all outstanding issues were concluded in December 2017.

In parallel, negotiations with Japan continue on investment protection standards and investment protection dispute resolution. The firm commitment on both sides is to move towards an agreement in the investment protection negotiations as soon as possible.

§ [EU-Japan free trade agreement]

§ [Decision to sign trade agreement]

Strategic Partnership Agreement

The Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) seeks to strengthen cooperation and dialogue across a broad range of bilateral, regional and multilateral issues. It highlights the shared values and common principles that constitute the basis for the deep and long-lasting cooperation between the EU and Japan, as strategic partners, including democracy, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms. The agreement will strengthen relations in fields such as international peace and security, sustainable development and climate change as well as judicial and law enforcement cooperation.

§ [EU-Japan relations (EEAS)]

Bilateral cooperation

Leaders will discuss specific measures to enhance the EU-Japan partnership on security and defence, including on crisis management cooperation, counter-terrorism, and maritime security.

Data protection will be another important topic for discussion where leaders are expected to call for an accelerated dialogue and a swift agreement on an adequate level of protection of personal data by Japan and the EU.

§ [Council conclusions on security cooperation with Asia]

Regional and foreign policy issues

Recent developments in the EU’s and Japan’s respective neighbourhoods will be on the agenda. In this context, leaders will discuss the situation in Ukraine and call on all parties to fully implement the Minsk agreements.

The situation in the Korean peninsula will also be addressed, with both sides remaining fully committed to the goal of achieving complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction. The leaders should welcome the Joint Statement between the US President and the leader of North Korea, address the issue of abductions and urge North Korea to comply with all the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

The summit should also reaffirm the shared interest in promoting peace and security from East and South China seas to the conflicts in Syria and the wider Middle East. On Iran, leaders are expected to stress the importance of the preservation and continued implementation of the JCPOA.

Global challenges

The summit will be an opportunity for Japan and the EU to reaffirm their shared values, their commitment to the rules-based international order and their determination to promote an open and fair global economy that benefits everyone.

Leaders will restate their engagement to keep the global economy open and refrain from all forms of protectionism. In particular, the leaders will underline the central role of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in the rules-based multilateral trading system. They should also commit to modernise the WTO to create a truly global level-playing-field.

EU and Japan leaders will highlight their commitment to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate. Leaders should also call for increased innovation and climate finance with a view to reach a global carbon-neutral economy over the course of the second half of the century.

§ [The Charlevoix G7 Summit Communique]

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