Essential points in the negotiations
Within the core economic part of the negotiations, the EU is pressing for the elimination of non-tariff barriers to trade, better access to the agricultural and services markets, and for greater access to Japanese public-sector contracts. For its part, Japan is interested in a fast reduction of the tariffs on industrial goods, particularly cars. This is an area where the EU insists on reasonable transitional periods being agreed.
Lately, some major progress has been achieved on non-tariff trade barriers. One of the priorities for the EU, however, is to establish mechanisms that will prove effective in preventing the establishment of new non-tariff trade barriers once the agreement has been concluded.
Progress on services, diverging opinions on public-sector contracts
Additional progress has recently been made on service and the relevant chapter is about to be consolidated. There are signs that a compromise will be struck on the extent to which maritime services and financial services are to fall within the scope of the agreement. For Germany, it is also very important that cultural and media diversity be protected.
The chapter on public-sector contracts is one of the most difficult. Japan has a tradition of being extremely cautious when it comes to opening these markets, whilst the EU would like to see them be fully opened for EU companies. The EU also wants to secure access to the Japanese railway market, which is currently fenced off.
Negotiations on investment protection ongoing
Where investment protection is concerned, the German government is supportive of EU efforts to put in place a modern system modelled on CETA. This would involve a careful definition of the standards of protection that apply to investments, uphold governments’ right to regulate, and see a transparent investment court be established. This court would use publicly appointed judges and have an appellate mechanism. Some significant progress has been achieved in the negotiations on the definition of standards of protection and on the provisions that are to maintain the right to regulate. Japan has accepted the EU approach. As far as investor-state dispute settlement is concerned, however, agreement has yet to be reached.
Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy pushing for transparency
In her dealings with the European Commission and other Member States, Federal Economic Affairs Minister Brigitte Zypries has been an advocate for greater transparency around the negotiations. The was published by the European Commission on , when all of the Member States agreed that their concerns had been addressed.
The European Commission provides regular updates on its negotiations with Japan. To access this information, please click . Furthermore, the European Commission regularly consults with the European Parliament and civil society. For additional information on the issue of transparency, please go to our section.