EU and Japan conclude a trade agreement

The EU and Japan signed a trade deal in Tokyo. The accord, known as the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), has been under formal negotiation since 2013. Leaders stressed that the agreement will strengthen the alliance between countries who share a set of core values, including a commitment to using trade as a tool to support sustainable development objectives. The EU and Japanese officials also issued a joint statement, welcoming the signing of the EPA as well as a separate accord known as a Strategic Partnership Agreement, which aims to facilitate more in-depth work on a host of shared policy priorities. The EPA covers a broad range of topics, such as slashing duties on nearly all tariff lines, tackling non-tariff measures, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, improving market access in several key services sectors, such as telecommunications and financial services and public procurement. The agreement shall enter into force in 2019.