EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)

On 17 July 2018, the European Union and Japan signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the biggest trade agreement ever negotiated by the EU that will create an open trade zone covering over 600 million people.

The agreement is now awaiting consent by the European Parliament and the Japanese Diet following which it is expected to enter into force in 2019.

The EPA contains "a number of provisions that will simplify trade and investment procedures, reduce export and investment related costs and will therefore enable more small firms to do business in both markets. Among the expected benefits are increased transparency, less burdensome technical rules, compliance requirements, customs procedures and rules of origin, enhanced protection of intellectual property rights and geographical indications, better access to procurement tender procedures, as well as a special chapter to enable SMEs to maximise the benefits from the EPA". (Source: Proposal for a COUNCIL DECISION on the conclusion of the Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Japan - COM(2018) 192 final)

The EU-Japan EPA is expected to boost trade in goods and services and will create many opportunities for EU SMEs: tariffs on more than 90% of Japan's imports from the EU will be eliminated at entry into force of the EPA. This will affect a wide range of sectors covering agriculture and food products, industrial products (including textiles, clothing...), as well as forestry and fisheries. In addition, non-tariff barriers are expected to be substantially reduced for motor vehicles, medical devices, and the "quasi drugs" sectors. Finally the agreement will facilitate the export of services to the Japanese market and will affect a significant number of sectors from telecommunications to postal services and the financial sector.


To raise awareness of the opportunities this agreement offers and to help EU SMEs take advantage of them, the EU-Japan Centre has launched an EPA Helpdesk to support and guide EU SMEs in their search for relevant information.

The "EPA Helpdesk" will provide up-to-date information and recommendations on the potential benefits the EU-Japan EPA will offer EU SMEs. The helpdesk will answer EPA-related queries, organise webinars and publish  information packs each of them composed of a factsheet and practical guide covering a specific topic or sector.


The EU-Japan Centre will be happy to keep you informed and answer your questions.

Should you be interested in being kept informed or already have a question, feel free to fill in this webform.

Below listed are the services provided by the helpdesk:


The EU-Japan Centre will answer EPA related queries. When the answer will not be available in-house, the EU-Japan Centre will signpost to relevant existing online information.


The EU-Japan Centre will release on a regular basis information packs composed of a factsheet presenting factual information about the changes brought by the EPA and a practical guide helping SMEs to take advantage of this agreement. The packs will be prepared in conjunction with the European Commission.


• What is the current situation both in Japan and in the EU?
• What are the challenges SMEs are commonly facing? (Tariff and non-tariff barriers etc.)
• What will be the changes when the EU-Japan EPA will enter into force?


• In practical terms, how can my company take advantage of the EPA?
• What should my company do in order to get relevant information/updates about opportunities brought by the EPA?
• What should my company do in order to comply with relevant regulations with a view to benefiting from the EU-Japan EPA?


Every month, the EU-Japan Centre will organise a webinar covering a specific EU-Japan EPA-related topic. Each standalone webinar will last an hour. Participants will learn about the changes brought by the EPA the and new opportunities that are being created. After a 45-minute presentation, participants will be able to put their questions to the expert during a Question and Answer session.


Rules of Origin Past event material
Public Procurement Past event material
Cheese and Dairy Products Date to be announced
Meats Date to be announced
Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs) Date to be announced
Wine Date to be announced
Geographical Indications (GIs) Date to be announced
Starch, malt & processed agricultural products (PAPs) Date to be announced
Sanitary and phytosanitary measures Date to be announced
SME chapter, technical barriers to trade & trade facilitation aspects Date to be announced
Beer & Spirits Date to be announced
Services & Investments Date to be announced
Medical devices and pharmaceuticals Date to be announced
Textiles and clothing Date to be announced
Footwear and leather products Date to be announced
Fisheries Date to be announced
Telecoms Date to be announced
Forestry products Date to be announced
Motor Vehicles Date to be announced
IPR Date to be announced



About the agreement:

Official texts of the agreement:

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