March 6, 2017
European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Fumio Kishida met at the end of February y in Bonn to discuss the way forward for the negotiation of a Free Trade Agreement between the European Union (EU) and Japan.
Both parties reaffirmed their commitment to conclude the negotiations towards the agreement as early as possible. "Negotiations are very advanced. While it was not possible to conclude by the end of 2016, as we had hoped, tremendous progress has been registered over the last few months. As often in a negotiation, the few remaining issues are the most difficult to be solved, but I am confident that the distance between our respective positions can be bridged soon", said Commissioner Malmström.
Commissioner Malmström and Minister Kishida agreed that negotiations should continue without interruption and instructed their Chief Negotiators in this respect. Both parties also confirmed their commitment to concluding in parallel a Strategic Partnership Agreement.
The EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement negotiations were officially launched in March 2013. The 17th round of negotiations took place in Brussels in September 2016. Since then, technical negotiations have continued without interruption, with frequent stocktaking at Ministerial level and by the two Chief Negotiators.