Today in adopting by a large majority the report of Metin Kazak (Movement for Rights and Freedom,Bulgaria) on trade relations between the European Union and Japan, the Parliamentary Committee on International Trade (INTA) sends a clear signal to the Council for the early opening of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations. The EU Commission estimates that the completion of its free trade policy could lead to an increase of 2% in EU GDP (over €250 billion) and 2 million extra jobs. Two thirds of these gains would come from agreements with Japan and the USA.
The rapporteur, Metin Kazak, ALDE coordinator within INTA, said: "Global growth is in Asia so it's in Asia that we must go after growth. Japan is the third largest national economy in the world but only our seventh largest trade partner. This is unacceptable and we need to use free trade negotiations to re-launch our exports to this crucial partner. My report makes clear that we must be firm in negotiations and secure a good deal for EU industry - opening negotiations does not mean that we have to complete them if Japan does not fulfil its part. In particular, the Commission must ensure Japan removes non-tariff regulatory barriers to trade and obstacles to public procurement which unfairly shut out European companies. To those reluctant national governments, I say that we must see this FTA as an opportunity and not as a threat. The same protectionist fears were present before the conclusion of the FTA with South Korea, but now a year after its entry into force, the statistics show that it's the EU that benefited the most. "
ALDE has reiterated this commitment to free trade during the vote on another report on trade relations between the EU and the United States of America, in which Marietje SCHAAKE (D66, The Netherlands) welcomes the comprehensive and constructive approach: "If we can remove the remaining import tariffs, break-down regulatory barriers and increase access for investment and services, this could be a game-changer for our economic future. However, not including Intellectual Property Rights reform in an EU-US FTA would be a missed opportunity to optimize the vast potential of a thriving trans-Atlantic digital market which is essential for more jobs and new growth in the 21st century. I regret that the report lacks ambition in this field. "