Didier Reynders welcomes political agreement on the essential elements of an economic partnership agreement between the European Union and Japan

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday announced an agreement on the essential elements of an economic partnership agreement between the European Union and Japan. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders welcomes this announcement. It is an important step towards the most important bilateral commercial agreement that the European Union has ever concluded.

This agreement has promising perspectives for Belgian companies. Small and Medium Enterprises will benefit a tailored treatment on a Japanese market that is traditionally difficult to access. The economic potential is high given the importance of Japan in our economy, for both exports and investments. The agreement offers supplementary access for the most important Belgian sectors such as agriculture (beer, meat), chemicals and pharmaceuticals, maritime services, textiles and digital trade, while important safeguards are foreseen for public and audiovisual services. The ‘jambon d’ardenne’ and the ‘beurre d’ardenne’ will recognized as geographical protected indications.

Minister Reynders calls on the Commission to make the final negotiating texts publicly available as to allow for an in-depth analysis. The agreement needs to correspond to the ambitious expectations that Belgium has put forward during the negotiations. Minister Reynders has requested his services to continue the intense inter-federal consultations in the coming months in order to identify possible improvements prior to the formal initialling by the Commission. 

Didier Reynders attaches great importance to a maximum transparency of EU trade policy. Together with his Dutch, Luxembourg, German, Austrian and Finnish colleagues, he has signed a common letter, requesting the publication of all current negotiation mandates, starting with the mandate of the trade agreement with Japan.