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News article25 March 2022BrusselsDirectorate-General for Trade1 min read

EU-Japan trade bounces back to pre-pandemic levels

Today, the Joint Committee established under the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) took place.

The Committee was co-chaired by Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Yoshimasa Hayashi. Earlier, Dombrovskis also met with the Japanese Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Kōichi Hagiuda.

This year marks three years since the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) entered into force. Over this period, it has proven to be the bedrock of the EU-Japan economic relationship and in 2021, trade in goods between the two partners recovered to pre-pandemic levels reaching 125 billion euros. Besides strong trade and investment ties, the EU and Japan are likeminded partners who share the same values and are united in their response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The EU and Japan have been closely coordinating their sanctions against Russia and Belarus. In addition, Japan showed solidarity with Europe recently when it directed its surplus of Liquified Natural Gas to the EU, and the two partners confirmed they would continue cooperating on energy security, including through trade and investment in renewable energy capacities. The EU and Japan are also committed to international solidarity in their response to the pandemic. Japan is the number one destination for EU-made COVID-19 vaccines, with over 340 million doses imported so far.

Moreover, the Joint Committee discussed ongoing cooperation on trade and investment matters and areas where market access could be improved, such as the import conditions in Japan for certain categories of EU agricultural products.

The Executive Vice-President also met with the Japanese Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Kōichi Hagiuda today to discuss cooperation on global trade challenges, including with regard to the WTO. They also discussed and welcomed strong cooperation on holding Russia to account through trade sanctions.

Protection of traditional food

The EPA already protects 239 EU and 84 Japanese geographical indications (GIs) from imitation and usurpation in the EU and Japan, creating mutual trade benefits and introducing consumers to guaranteed, authentic products from two regions with a rich culinary and cultural tradition. Since 1 February 2022, the EU and Japan have protected an additional 28 GIs for each side, such as Pimentón de la Vera spice, Pecorino Sardo cheese, Yoshikawa Eggplant and Nissato green onion.

For more information

EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement
EU-Japan trade in your town


Publication date
25 March 2022
Directorate-General for Trade
Country or region
  • Japan
Trade topics
  • Negotiations and agreements