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Nikkei | 8 December 2017
Japan, EU finalize trade deal, aim at implementation in early 2019
(Kyodo) — Japan and the European Union finalized negotiations on a free trade deal on Friday, Japanese government and ruling government sources said, with the two sides aiming to implement it in early 2019.
Later in the day, the Japanese and EU leaders are set to confirm the final accord, which was reached during their respective chief negotiators’ meeting in Brussels, by telephone, the sources said.
The deal will open up the EU market to Japanese cars and auto parts and Japan to European dairy and agricultural products.
Following a broad agreement on the pact in July, the two sides were aiming to finalize the specifics of the deal in the hope of signing the deal next summer and putting it into effect in 2019, negotiation sources said.
In reaching the deal, they are likely to have decided not to include a scheme to settle investment disputes and continue negotiations over the agenda, the sources said.
Regarding the issue of investment dispute settlement, which gives a company the right to sue a state for compensation if it believes its investment has been harmed by a government decision, Tokyo has been calling for the use of an existing investor-state dispute system whereby a company and a government select mediators when a case is raised.
The European Union has opposed the approach and proposes setting up a permanent investment court with proper mediators appointed by governments. Japan, however, is cautious about the idea as it believes it could hurt companies’ interests if mediators are selected arbitrarily.