EU and Japan reach agreement in principle on EPA; ISDS remains fully open

The European Union and Japan announced on July 6, 2017 that they reached an agreement in principle on the main elements of an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). In negotiation since 2013, the treaty will include a specific commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change. Although negotiations are not yet concluded, the negotiating partners have published certain texts covered by the agreement in principle—including chapters on sustainable development and investment liberalization—for information purposes.

Investment protection is outside the scope of the agreement in principle, as the negotiating partners could not agree on the issue of investment dispute resolution. The European Commission, which proposed its reformed Investment Court System (ICS) to Japan, clarified that “under no conditions can old-style ISDS provisions be included in the agreement.” The negotiating partners are working toward concluding negotiations by the end of 2017.