Wine tariffs eliminated as EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement signed

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

New rules for wine, spirits and beer as part of the EU-Japan trade deal. Pic:getty/goldenbrown
New rules for wine, spirits and beer as part of the EU-Japan trade deal. Pic:getty/goldenbrown

Related tags Eu Japan Wine Gi spirits Beer

The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) has been signed this week, removing tariffs on EU wine exports to Japan.

The trade agreement is the biggest ever negotiated by the EU, creating a trade zone that covers over 600 million people.

Food and drink is a large EU export to Japan; while cars are one of Japan’s biggest exports.

EU wine exports to Japan are already worth around €1bn ($1.2bn) and represent the EU’s second biggest agricultural export to Japan by value. The tariffs on wine will be scrapped from day one, as will tariffs for other alcoholic drinks such as spirits.

European beers will be exported as beers and not categorised as 'alcoholic soft drinks'. This will also lead to similar taxation, thus doing away with differences between different beers.

Key parts of the agreement for the F&B industry include:

  • removing Japanese duties on wine (currently 15%)
  • removing Japanese duties on many cheeses such as Gouda and Cheddar (which currently are at 29.8%)
  • allow the EU to increase its beef exports to Japan substantially, while on pork there will be duty-free trade in processed meat and almost duty-free trade for fresh meat;
  • ensure the protection in Japan of EU Geographical Indications (GIs), such as Prosecco and Irish Whiskey, and the protection of a selection of Japanese GIs in the EU.

Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Trade, said: "Together with Japan, we are sending a strong signal to the world that two of its biggest economies still believe in open trade, opposing both unilateralism and protectionism.

The economic benefits of this agreement are clear. By removing billions of euros of duties, simplifying customs procedures and tackling behind-the-border barriers to trade, it will offer opportunities for companies on both sides to boost their exports and expand their business.

“The European agriculture sector in particular has something to celebrate, with access to the enormous Japanese market and protection for over 200 distinctive food and drinks like Champagne and Parma ham.”

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