Published: Wed, 13 September 2017
Ireland can reap the economic benefits from the EU-Japan trade deal, especially in terms of agri-exports, according to Ireland South MEP Seán Kelly.
Japan is the world’s third-largest economy, with a population of about 127 million. EU firms already export over €58 billion in goods and €28 billion in services to Japan annually.
“The EU and Japan have formally agreed an outline free-trade deal, just as Ireland celebrates 60 years of diplomatic relations with Japan. Japan is Ireland’s 11th most important trading partner and a country that is keen on importing more EU agricultural products, particularly dairy goods,” said Mr Kelly, a Member of the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee.
“In 2013, Ireland exported over €1.6 billion worth of goods to Japan, mostly from the agri-food, pharma/medical, ICT and financial services areas, whereas Ireland imported just over €1 billion worth from Japan. An EU FTA with Japan opens up the possibility of growing that trade surplus substantially.”
For example, the outline deal plans for the scrapping of duties on many European cheeses such as Gouda and Cheddar (current duties are 29.8 percent). It will also allow the EU to increase its beef exports to Japan substantially, while on pork there will be duty-free trade in processed meat and almost duty-free trade for fresh meat. 43,500 tonnes of Irish beef are currently sent to Japan at a tariff of 38.5pc, which could be reduced to 9pc over 15 years.
“The EU-Japan FTA is good news for Ireland, especially with regard to concerns for the trading impact of Brexit – new markets are vital. Being an EU Member State gives Ireland access to the Single Market and to new trading opportunities. More trade means more jobs,” added Mr Kelly.
A final text on the proposed EU-Japan FTA deal will be presented by the end of the year, before coming before the European Parliament for review, as well as EU Member States.