EU a Step Closer to Trade Agreements with Japan, Singapore

The European Commission has taken the first step towards the conclusion of trade agreements with Japan and Singapore by presenting the deals to the Council to eventually be adopted.

The agreement with Japan is the biggest bilateral trade partnership ever negotiated by the European Union, the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) said.

It will remove the vast majority of customs duties, that cost EU companies exporting to Japan some EUR 1 billion a year, which could in turn lead to an increase of EU exports to Japan by over one third.

“It contains obligations to maintain open and non-discriminatory access to international maritime services such as transport and auxiliary services, as well as access to ports and port services,” Martin Dorsman, ECSA’s Secretary General, said.

The trade and investment agreements with Singapore are the EU’s first completed bilateral deals with a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). With these agreements, the EU has made an important stride towards setting high standards and rules for the important and fast-growing Southeast Asian region.

“With Japan and Singapore agreements Europe sends a strong message to the world in support of fair and regulated trade,” Dorsman continued.

Around 90% of world trade in goods is carried by the international shipping industry and European shipowners control 40% of the world’s merchant fleet and operate shipping services all over the world, he informed.

Once approved by the Council, the agreements would be sent to the European Parliament, aiming for the entry into force before the end of the current mandate of the European Commission in 2019. The investment protection agreement with Singapore will follow its ratification procedure also at Member State level.