29 May 2015 : EU-Japan annual summit: EPA main point on the agenda
Lower tariffs, non-tariff trade barriers and public procurement
Nikkei online reports on May 26, that EU and Japan plan to use their annual summit in Tokyo on May 29 to iron out differences on lowering of tariffs, non-tariff trade barriers and public procurement, with the goal to reach an early comprehensive agreement towards conclusion of a Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The views are however still wide apart, and it is unclear whether progress will be made this time.
With regard to the topic of lower tariffs and non-tariff barriers, Japan wants to see lower tariffs for goods in accordance with its changes in rules regulating automobiles and food items. Japan want the EU to lower the tariffs (currently 10%) on automobiles, for which the EU demands additional removal of non-tariff barriers, including cars.
The progress in the area of opening up the public procurement area has also been slow, and while mutual proposals have been exchanged, no real progress has been seen. The EU expects Japan to give its overall view of how it is planning to proceed in this area.
The EU side has also expressed its dissatisfaction Japan’s insistence to stick with its new GI (Geographical Indication) marking scheme, which Japan has set up recently to promote traditional agricultural products in the regions.