European policy consultants
Rural development and renewable energy

Trade deals in prospect

The EP Trade committee has voted to back the report of Metin Kazak MEP (Bulgaria) on EU trade relations with Japan. They sent a clear signal to the Council for early opening of Free
Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations.

The EU Commission estimates that free trade deals could lead to an increase of 2% in EU GDP (over €250 billion) and 2 million jobs. Two thirds of these gains would come from agreements with Japan and the USA.

Metin Kazak said: "Global growth is in Asia ... Japan is the third largest economy in the
world but only our seventh largest trade partner.

His report calls for a good deal for EU industry - "opening negotiations does not mean that
we have to complete them if Japan does not fulfil its part".

He wants the Commission to secure the removal by Japan of all non-tariff regulatory barriers and obstacles to public procurement which unfairly shut out European companies: "We must see this FTA as an opportunity and not as a threat."

He points out that the same protectionist fears were widely held before the deal with South Korea, but a year on, the statistics show that the EU has benefited most.

There was also a vote on trade relations between the EU and the USA.