The EU-Japan Agreement is as economically important as the TTIP, yet passes almost unnoticed among EU civil society and other stakeholders.
On 26 October the EESC provided an opportunity for civil society organisations to share their views on the agreement in principle on an EU-Japan Economic Partnership.
While participants agreed on the geostrategic importance of the agreement and its positive impact on the EU and Japanese economies, some expressed concern about the lack of transparency surrounding it.
Krzysztof Pater (Various Interests, PL), President of the EESC's Japan Follow-up Committee, stressed the need to closely involve civil society in monitoring and implementing the agreement, by setting up a civil society Domestic Advisory Group (DAG) as soon as possible after its entry into force. "The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement marks a new chapter in relations between the EU and Japan," said Kazuo Kodama, Japanese Ambassador to the EU. "We have a firm objective of finalising the agreement by the end of the year," said EU chief negotiator Mauro Raffaele Petriccione, who also highlighted the role for civil society through consultative bodies and joint civil society dialogue.
Participants pointed to investment protection and data flows as key outstanding issues, along with the impact on the environment and consumers. The Sustainable Development chapter in the agreement was welcomed, but its enforceability challenged. (sg)