Representatives from the European wine and dairy sectors have reacted positively to the news that the EU and Japan have formally agreed a free-trade deal.
Following four years of negotiations, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe today signed the deal which will remove tariffs on much of their bilateral trade.
Japan is the world’s third largest economy and Europe’s seventh biggest export market. The agreement will provide valuable access for EU wine and dairy exports.
The EU wine trade group CEEV ‘warmly welcomed’ the announcement of the deal, which it hopes will reverse the falling market share of EU wine within Japan in recent years.
CEEV secretary general Ignacio Sánchez Recarte said: “At the moment, we are competing with countries which are not facing the same restrictions that we are. Just look at our major competitor, Chile, which enjoyed significant increases in market share in Japan after the implementation of its free-trade agreement.
“EU wine now has the tools to reconquer the market.”
The deal was signed on the eve of a meeting of the G20 group of leading economies and follows the collapse of a trade deal between Japan and the US, which was scrapped earlier in the year by US President Donald Trump.
Producers and exporters of meat and dairy products have also expressed support for the deal, with Japanese demand for dairy goods on the rise.
A statement by the European Dairy Association said: “The dairy sector is one of the sectors of the European economy that has undergone the deepest structural and policy reforms over the past months and years.
“It has achieved huge progress in terms of global competitiveness towards most of our competitors around the globe, thanks to the overall trade strategy of the EU Commission to open more markets for dairy products.”
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