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Industry welcomes EU-Japan agreement on free trade deal

The EPA between the EU and Japan will be the most important bilateral trade agreement ever concluded by the European Union.

18th July 2017

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Brussels

Sports/​Outdoor, Clothing/​Footwear, Industrial

On 10 July 2017, the EU and Japan Textile and Clothing industries met in Brussels. © EuratexFollowing the announcement made this month by the EU and Japan about the political agreement on the main elements of an Economic Partnership Agreement, the Japan Textile Federation (JTF) and the European Apparel and Textile Confederation (Euratex) welcomed those results and urged their respective authorities to implement as soon as possible the agreement.

On 10 July 2017, the EU and Japan textile and clothing industries met in Brussels to exchange views about their respective industries’ status, their relationships and the political conclusions of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Japan and Europe. During that meeting, both JTF and Euratex reiterated their support to the agreement reached that should increase the opportunities for their companies to grab market openings with their innovations.

“Since the start of the discussions the EU and Japanese textile and clothing industries worked together on tariffs and rules to ensure that the negotiators deliver the right framework for our products. Though, we still need to see the details of the text of the agreement, we are confident that such ambitious and industry driven deal will allow our companies to reap rapidly the benefits of this agreement,” said Klaus Huneke, President of Euratex.

Immediate abolishment of customs duties

Both industries issued two joint statements in support of those negotiations – in November 2013 and in November 2016 – providing suggestions of possible area of agreement for their products both for tariffs and rules of origin. Both industries are greeting their authorities for having taken duly into account their proposals made during the negotiations to reach an agreement that should foster the textile and clothing bilateral relations.

“The immediate abolishment of customs duties with full reciprocity and no exceptions, as well as the rules of origin prone to promote industrial relations, should be concluded and put into effect as soon as possible in order to allow this future-oriented agreement to deliver the expected benefits to our companies,” commented Masanao Kambara, JTF President.

Sportswear industry endorsement

The Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI), and the European ski boots and sports footwear companies also welcomed this announcement with enthusiasm. “We tasked our respective negotiating teams with a rapid finalisation of the agreement that would allow for the internal procedures to start soon, both in the EU and in Japan,” the leaders confirmed in their joint statement.

FESI hopes that the final text will include ambitious duty reductions for ski boots and the elimination of tariff quotas for footwear. “We know that the winter sports market in Japan is declining for many years. However, the participation rate seems to stabilise around 12 million national skiers now,” said Jerome Pero FESI’s Public Policy Director.

“Looking at the creative and dynamic people involved in making ski resorts ever more attractive over there, I am confident that Japan will attract an increasing number of recreational winter sports people in that region. Overall, the Free Trade Agreement can have a non-negligible effect on the sector and hopefully draw new investments in winter sports.”

Economic Partnership Agreement

The Economic Partnership agreement between the European Union and Japan will be the most important bilateral trade agreement ever concluded by the European Union and as such will for the first time include a specific commitment to the Paris climate agreement. For the EU and its Member States, it will remove the vast majority of duties paid by EU companies, which sum up to EUR 1 billion annually, will open the Japanese market to key EU agricultural exports and will increase opportunities in a range of sectors.

“We agreed in principle on a future Economic Partnership Agreement. The depth of this agreement goes beyond free trade. Its impact goes far beyond our shores. It makes a statement about the future of open and fair trade in today's world. It sets the standard for others," said the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. “As far as we are concerned, there is no protection in protectionism. Only by working together will we be able to set global standards when it comes to safety, environmental or consumer protection.”

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