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June 24, 2019

The EU-Japan free trade agreement must enter into force before Brexit

EU-Japan free tradeThe European Union and Japan continue talks on the free trade agreement, which they plan, to enter into force at the beginning of 2019, at best – before the UK leaves the community. The deal reached by negotiators last year is likely to be presented to the Japanese Parliament later this year, allowing it to be ratified by the end of the year. This was stated today by Japanese Ambassador on International Economic Affairs, Yoichi Suzuki.

“It is a very important priority (the agreement) to enter into force before the end of March 2019”, said he at a conference in Brussels, noting the planned date of Brexit.

If the deal entered into force before that date, it could automatically cover the UK in the transition period of about two years.

“The European and Japanese leaders may be able to sign the agreement by the summer”, said EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom.

The agreement must be translated into all EU languages, for which translators are given only two months compared to the usual period of seven to eight months, added the Chief European Negotiator Mauro Petriccione.

Japan closely follows Brexit and the future relationship between the UK and the EU, as many of its automotive companies serve the European market with British bases and rely on free and seamless trade between the UK and the EU.

According to Suzuki, if the Japan-EU Free Trade Agreement enters into force in the UK during the transition period, it will give Tokyo time to reach a separate trade deal with London.

In the EU, the rapid implementation will depend on relatively rapid debate and approval in the Member States and the European Parliament.

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