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Irish Presidency welcomes start of negotiations on new EU-Japan trade agreement

26.03.2013, 09:21 GMT


The Irish Presidency welcomed the start of official negotiations on a new EU-Japan FTA today, according to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and current chair of the EU’s Council of Trade Ministers, Richard Bruton TD.

The aim is to reach a comprehensive agreement covering goods, services and investment. The negotiations are aiming to further reduce tariffs and non-tariff barriers. The talks will also cover other trade-related issues, such as public procurement, regulatory issues, competition, and sustainable development. The first round of official negotiations will be held in Brussels from 15 to 19 April.

Minister Bruton commented: “I warmly welcome the start of official negotiations on a new EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement. Supporting growth in international trade is a priority for the Irish Presidency. This is because international trade has massive potential to create jobs and boost economic growth.

Minister Bruton - “A new EU-Japan agreement is expected to boost Europe’s economy by 0.6 to 0.8 % of its GDP. Under the terms of a new FTA, EU exports to Japan could increase by up to 33%. Trade is essential to job creation in the EU: 30 million jobs or 10% of the European workforce depends on exports."

"A series of new international trade agreements promise to increase European GDP by 2% and create 2 million new jobs across the EU. At a time when EU unemployment stands at 26 million, I’m delighted to use the Irish Presidency to push for real progress in this area.”

Japan is the EU’s second biggest trading partner in Asia, after China. In 2011 EU exports to Japan had reached a value of €49 billion, mainly in the sectors of machinery and transport equipment, chemical products and agricultural products. In 2011 EU imports from Japan accounted for €68 billion, with mostly machinery and transport equipment and chemical products. In 2011, EU imports and exports of commercial services from and to Japan were €16 billion and €22 billion.

Japan is also a major investor in the EU. In 2011 the EU inward FDI stock had reached a value of €144 billion. Japan's inward FDI has increased markedly since the mid-1990s, but remains very low in comparison with other OECD countries.

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picture of Róisín McCann, Press Officer

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