EU–Japan EPA negotiations finalized without investment; EU–Mexico updated FTA nears completion

On December 8, 2017, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the finalization of the negotiations of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and Japan.

According to the European Commission statement, the path is now clear for signature, ratification and implementation of the agreement. The statement highlights that “the EPA reinforces the EU and Japan’s actions on sustainable development and climate change.”

As reported in ITN, the partners had reached an agreement in principle on the EPA in July 2017, but could not agree on certain aspects of the investment chapter, including dispute settlement. Parties left investment out of the EPA to be able finalize it and would later conclude a separate agreement on investment.

The EU­­–Mexico agreement is also reported to be nearing completion—including an investment chapter. The negotiating partners held the sixth round of negotiations in Mexico City, November 25–December 1, 2017. Negotiations on an updated trade deal have been ongoing since May 2016.

According to an EU press release, progress was made in issues including the Investment Court System (ICS) and sustainable development, and the European Commission remains committed to the goal of concluding the deal before the end of 2017.

Negotiators met in Brussels from December 11 to “outline a possible conclusion of negotiations,” and EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo are scheduled to meet in the week of December 18.