EU and Japan 'set to sign free trade deal by summer 2018'

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The EU and Japan could have a new trade deal in place within a few months.

The EU and Japan are closing in on a new free trade deal, which could be signed as early as this summer. 

Speaking during a news conference in Bulgaria this week, EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said this week that if everything goes to plan, work on ratifying the deal will start in the autumn of this year, with a view to full implementation in early 2019. 

The deal will see 94 per cent of all tariffs on imports from the EU being eliminated, including 82 per cent from farming and fisheries. That will mean improved conditions for European exporters of cheese, wine and meats.

Japanese exporters will benefit from the axing of 99 per cent of import duties, with sake and green tea being tariff free while levies on TVs would be eliminated after six years. Taxes on cars will be removed after eight years.  

The question of how to settle investment disputes has not yet been answered. This will be the subject of further negotiations.