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 entered into force on Friday, 1 February 2019.

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 answers EPA-related queries from EU companies. In case the answer is not be available in-house, the EU-Japan Centre will signpost to relevant existing online information.

You have a specific question or wish to be kept informed about future webinars?

Please fill in the form here (be sure to mention the HS code of your product in case of query).

Information about the trade impact of the EU-Japan EPA is available here.

EPA-related most common Q&As are available here.



Our EPA Helpdesk released 2 handbooks to help EU companies understand the EPA.

Between 2020 and 2022, the EPA Helpdesk published a series of factsheets covering factual information about the changes brought by the EPA and organised related webinars. Past recorded webinars and related factsheets are available in below table.

Dairy Products

Rules of Origin (incl. podcasts)


Spirits and Beers

Forestry products


Fruits & Vegetables


Geographical Indications (GIs)

Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs)

Human Resources Mobility

Services & Domestic Regulations

Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs)

Services & Finances

Leather & Footwear Products

Services & Insurances

Malt, Starches, Wheat Gluten and Egg Albumin

Services & Maritime Transport

Meat Products

SME Chapter

Processed Agricultural Products


Public Procurement



We also organised a webinar offering an explanation of the Access2Markets tool and a live demonstration of the tool’s features, such as: import and export sections, barriers, Single Entry Point Statistics, ROSA the Rules of Origin self-assessment tool, Access2Procurement. Please click here to get access to the webinar recording.



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.



About the agreement: https://policy.trade.ec.europa.eu/eu-trade-relationships-country-and-region/countries-and-regions/japan/eu-japan-agreement/eu-japan-agreement-chapter-chapter_en

Market access database: https://trade.ec.europa.eu/access-to-markets/en/content/

Taxation and customs: https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/business/international-affairs/international-customs-cooperation-mutual-administrative-assistance-agreements/japan_en

EU-Japan Trade: https://policy.trade.ec.europa.eu/eu-trade-relationships-country-and-region/countries-and-regions/japan_en

EU-Japan Cooperation: https://ec.europa.eu/growth/industry/international-aspects/cooperation-governments/eu-japan_en

Delegation of the European Union to Japan: https://www.eeas.europa.eu/delegations/japan_en

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