Today, 1st February 2019, the biggest trade agreement ever negotiated by EU, creating a trade zone that covers over 600 million people, comes into effect. This economic agreement will be the largest zone of free trade created in history.
Food and drinks is a large EU export to Japan. EU wine exports to Japan are worth around €1bn and represent the EU’s second biggest agricultural export to Japan by value. The tariffs on wine will be scrapped starting from today, as will tariffs for other alcholic drinks such as spirits.
When the European Parliament’s plenary confirmed in December 2018 the consent to the EU-Japan Trade Agreement, the European wine sector applauded the vote.
“Today’s decision by the European Parliament is a big step forward. The trade agreement will boost our exports to Japan and will enhance our position as export leaders”, said Jean-Marie Barillère, President of CEEV (Comité européen des entreprises vins) on December 18, 2018.
This Free Trade Agreement provides valuable preferential access to EU wines and dismantles technical barriers that were hindering the wine trade. It also protects European wine Geographical Indications from usurpations.
Japan is a longstanding priority market for the EU wine sector. Nowadays it is the 5th export market for EU wines. In 2017, exports of EU wine to Japan accounted for € 800 million;
The reasons why the EU wine industry supports the EU-Japan FTA are the following:
- Customs duties are eliminated for all wines at the entry into force of the agreement. This allows EU wines to compete on a level playing field with third countries’ wines
- Technical barriers to trade related to the authorisation of oenological practices is removed.
- Protection of Geographical Indications: 100 high-quality EU GIs wines will enjoy the same level of protection that they have in Europe
- A Joint Wine Committee will be created to foster collaboration and dialogue between the EU and Japan, and to solve conflicts related to wine.
The economic benefits of this agreement are clear. “By removing billions of euros of duties, symplifying customs procedures and tackling behind-the-border barriers to trade, it will offer opportunities for companies on both sides to boost their exports and expand their business:.” – Cecilia Malmstrom, EU Commisioner for Trade.