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EU-Japan agreement: Negotiation process

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Negotiations and agreements

The EU and Japan have negotiated a fair and progressive trade agreement. EU negotiators were supported by official studies into the potential benefits of the deal, and communicated regularly with national governments, the European Parliament and public organisations about their progress.

The agreement negotiated between the EU and Japan

Involvement of EU Member States

How it works

  • The commission does a 'scoping exercise' and impact assessment, including public consultations
  • The Commission then proposes the negotiating directives to the Council of the EU
  • The Council adopts negotiating directives and instructs the Commission to negotiate on behalf of the EU
  • The Commission then uses the Council's directive to negotiate on behalf of the 27 EU countries
  • The council and Parliament receive both technical and political reports and the negotiating documents
    • The Council co-decides, approving the the results of the negotiation
    • The Parliament co-decides, giving its consent on the agreement

EU member countries had access to negotiating documents and had regular technical and ministerial meetings.

In 2016-2017:

  • 18 meetings held with national governments, at a political and technical level, to prepare negotiating rounds or to debrief on their outcome (including two at ministerial level in the Trade Council, and 16 in the framework of the so-called Trade Policy Committee)
  • the chief negotiator debriefed EU countries' ambassadors in Tokyo after each round of negotiations that took place there
  • specific issues relevant for the Japan FTAs were also discussed in working groups involving EU members' experts: services and investment (seven meetings), customs and rules of origin (6), sustainable development (4), plant and animal health issues (3), data flows (3)

Scrutiny by the European Parliament

The European Parliament's Committee on International Trade (INTA) had access to the same information as provided to national governments represented in the Council.

The Commissioner and the Commission negotiating briefed the INTA Committee on the progress of the negotiations on a regular basis. In addition, the EU chief negotiator debriefed the INTA Japan FTA Monitoring group throughout the negotiations.

In 2016-2017:

  • 13 meetings were held with the European Parliament
    • Seven meetings with the monitoring group of the Committee on International Trade
    • Six meetings of the Committee on International Trade (INTA) where Japan was on the agenda (three with Commissioner Malmström)

Engagement with national parliaments

Since the beginning of her mandate, Commissioner Malmström has visited national parliaments in almost all of the EU's member countries in order to discuss the state of play of EU trade negotiations.

Meetings with citizens and civil society

In 2016-2017:

  • Civil Society Dialogue: negotiations with Japan were discussed in a debriefing and Q&A session with Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and two meetings with the Director-General for trade Jean-Luc Demarty.
  • Participation of the Commissioner in the plenary meeting of the European Economic and Social Committee
  • Three civil dialogue meetings organised by DG AGRI that touched on agricultural aspects of the deal
  • Meetings of the Commissioner, chief negotiator and experts with individual organisations such as the European Trade Union Confederation, the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), Transport & Environment and Digital Europe
  • In EU member countries: Citizens' dialogues by Trade Commissioner and trade officials

Engagement with the media

In addition to individual interviews by the Commissioner, several press conferences and technical briefings for the European press were devoted to negotiations in Brussels and Tokyo.