30 July 2018
On 17 July 2018, the European Union and Japan signed the Agreement between the European Union and Japan for an Economic Partnership (EU-Japan EPA). The EU-Japan EPA provides for wide-reaching economic liberalisation measures between the EU and Japan, most notably in the elimination or reduction of a significant number of tariffs and non-tariff barriers. In this regard, the EU-Japan EPA sends a signal that the EU and Japan remain committed to free trade, in contrast to some other major trading nations where protectionism is on the rise. The EU-Japan EPA is also notable for its approach to investment, containing "liberalisation" measures which are framed in language that is quite different to other treaties concluded in recent years. In addition, the absence of any investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism raises the question of whether traditional ISDS provisions will ever be included in future EU treaties and, if they are not, what steps Japanese investors should take to protect their investments into the EU.
The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement: a different kind of treaty?