At the EU-Japan Summit that took place in Brussels on 6 July 2017, the two negotiating partners achieved political agreement in principle on the envisaged EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement.
Federal Minister Zypries said: "The agreement in principle that was achieved today between the EU and Japan sends an important signal for free trade and against protectionism, right before the G20 Summit. This agreement shows that trade agreements that deliver open markets and serve the partners' mutual interests are possible. Globalisation needs rules, trade agreements help deliver these. By being proactive and committed, EU can be the right instrument for shaping globalisation and strengthening high EU standards on labour and the environment as well as consumer protection. Now that the agreement in principle has been reached, there are of course some issues and questions that still need resolving before the negotiations can be wrapped up by the end of the year. We will continue to press for a modern agreement and high standards. Overall, this free trade agreement will help strengthen the EU's position in Asia and give our companies better access to the Japanese markets."
Negotiations on an EU-Japan FTA began in 2013. The agreement is to strengthen economic and political relations between these two important trading areas and to give the EU a stronger role in the wider Asian region. The Federal Government is also supportive of the EU's ambitions to use modern and ambitious free trade agreements in order to shape global trade policy and put in place high standards, such as for sustainable trade.
Japan is an important market home to 127 million inhabitants. Even before the agreement, it is Germany's and the EU's second most important trading partner in Asia. Germany's bilateral trade with Japan totalled 40.2 billion euros in 2016, the figure for the EU as a whole was 124.7 billion euros.