On July 7, 2017, at the EU-Japan Summit a political agreement on the main principles of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was announced.
Agreement was reached on, amongst other things; (i) eliminating customs duties paid by EU companies, (ii) opening the Japanese market to key EU agricultural and food exports and (iii) addressing non-tariff barriers for products like motor vehicles, medical devices, textiles and beer. The EPA sets the standards for labour, safety, environmental and consumer protection, including the protection of personal data. It safeguards public services and has a special chapter on sustainable development. The agreement also addresses the services markets, in particular financial services, e-commerce, telecommunications and transport. The political agreement in principle covers most aspects of the EPA, which is not finalised yet. Some technical details still need to be worked out, and there are also chapters, for instance on investment protection, that remain outside the scope of the agreement. Other areas that require further work include regulatory cooperation and the general and institutional chapters. Completion is expected by mid-2018 and the entry into force of the EPA in early 2019.