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EU-Japan agreement on free trade deal to grab market openings

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2017-07-19 15:30:00 – Brussels

The EU and Japan textile and clothing industries met in Brussels on 10 July 2017 to exchange views about their respective industries’ status, their relationships and the political conclusions of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Japan and Europe.

Since the start of the discussions the EU and Japanese textile and clothing industries worked together on tariffs and rules to ensure that the negotiators deliver the right framework for their products. Though, they still need to see the details of the text of the agreement, they are confident that such ambitious and industry driven deal will allow their companies to reap rapidly the benefits of this agreement, said Klaus Huneke, President of Euratex.

During the meeting, both JTF and Euratex reiterated their support to the agreement reached that should increase the opportunities for their companies to grab market openings with their innovations.

Both industries issued two joint statements in support of those negotiations – in November 2013 and in November 2016 – providing suggestions of possible area of agreement for their products both for tariffs and rules of origin. Both industries are greeting their authorities for having taken duly into account their proposals made during the negotiations to reach an agreement that should foster the textile and clothing bilateral relations.

The immediate abolishment of customs duties with full reciprocity and no exceptions, as well as the rules of origin prone to promote industrial relations, should be concluded and put into effect as soon as possible in order to allow this future-oriented agreement to deliver the expected benefits to their companies, said Masanao Kambara, JTF President.

The Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI), and the European ski boots and sports footwear companies also welcomed this announcement with enthusiasm. They tasked their respective negotiating teams with a rapid finalisation of the agreement that would allow for the internal procedures to start soon, both in the EU and in Japan,” the leaders confirmed in their joint statement.

Jerome Pero FESI’s Public Policy Director said that FESI hopes that the final text will include ambitious duty reductions for ski boots and the elimination of tariff quotas for footwear. “We know that the winter sports market in Japan is declining for many years. However, the participation rate seems to stabilise around 12 million national skiers now.

The Economic Partnership agreement between the European Union and Japan will be the most important bilateral trade agreement ever concluded by the European Union and as such will for the first time include a specific commitment to the Paris climate agreement. For the EU and its Member States, it will remove the vast majority of duties paid by EU companies, which sum up to EUR 1 billion annually, will open the Japanese market to key EU agricultural exports and will increase opportunities in a range of sectors.

The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker said that they agreed in principle on a future Economic Partnership Agreement. The depth of this agreement goes beyond free trade. As far as they are concerned, there is no protection in protectionism. Only by working together will they be able to set global standards when it comes to safety, environmental or consumer protection.

The Japan Textile Federation (JTF) and the European Apparel and Textile Confederation (Euratex) welcoming those results, urged their respective authorities to implement as soon as possible the agreement.

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