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Ministers Humphreys and Breen welcome entry into force of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement

The landmark EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) comes into force on Friday, 1st February 2019 and will remove the vast majority of the €1 billion of duties paid annually by EU companies exporting to Japan. More than 90% of the EU's exports to Japan will be duty-free at entry into force of the agreement, with additional reductions on a phased basis over 15 years. The EPA also removes non-tariff barriers to trade by simplifying procedures for EU exports to Japan.

The Economic Partnership Agreement was signed at the EU-Japan Summit in Tokyo in July 2018 and is the biggest and most advanced bilateral trade deal ever negotiated by the European Union. The agreement creates the largest free trade zone in history, covering 600 million people and a third of global GDP.
It is expected that the Agreement will open up new opportunities for Irish exporters across a wide range of sectors, including the agri-food sector, which will see particular benefits with new access for dairy products, beef and pork. It will also facilitate greater ease in doing business in the financial services, med-tech, and green energy sectors and across the full range of trade interests that Ireland and Japan share.

Welcoming the entry in force of the Agreement, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said, “This Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan provides considerable opportunities for Irish businesses, especially SMEs, to increase their exports. It is also significant in terms of our key strategic goals of sustainable export growth and diversification. As part of the Government’s Global Ireland Initiative, Enterprise Ireland has strengthened its presence in Japan to increase its capacity to promote innovative products, processes and services from Ireland. This Agreement is a crucial step in further developing Ireland’s relationship with an important trading partner.”

Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen TD also welcomed the Agreement by noting, “The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement provides a significantly improved framework for Irish exporters seeking to do business in Japan. Irish agri-food produce, in particular, will benefit from the phased reduction of what have traditionally been very high tariffs for certain agricultural products including beef and cheese. The reduction of these tariffs creates real opportunities for Irish producers to expand in the growing Asian Market.”


Note to Editors:

For more information on the EU-Japan EPA, please see:

The European Commission have set up a helpdesk for EU businesses wishing to avail of the Economic Partnership. The helpdesk can be accessed at

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department also has a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.

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