The recent trade deal between the European Union and Japan has been welcomed by the European Cocoa Association (ECA).
In a tweet, the ECA said the removal of tariffs will open the Japanese market to EU cocoa exports. Confectionery and bakery manufactures in general are also set to benefit from the agreement, which will remove long-standing regulatory barriers, saving €1bn ($1.17bn) of duties paid annually by EU companies exporting to Japan.
ECA welcomes the signature of the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and Japan as this will create business opportunities for the European cocoa industry by removing tariffs and opening the Japanese market to EU cocoa exports. https://t.co/ReAonvNCWu via @Trade_EU— European Cocoa Association (ECA) (@ECA_aisbl) July 18, 2018
Biggest ever agreement
The agreement, the biggest ever negotiated by the EU, will also open up the Japanese market of 127 million consumers to key EU agricultural exports and will increase EU export opportunities in a range of other sectors. It also creates an open trade zone covering over 600 million people.
Japan is an important emerging market for European chocolate manufacturers with companies launching new products there as a testing ground for consumer tastes.
Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said the agreement will bring tangible benefits to both sides and at the same time “safeguard each other's sensitivities.
"The document we signed today is much more than a trade agreement. It is, of course, a tool that will create opportunities for our companies, our workers and our citizens and that will boost the European and Japanese economies. But it is also a statement. For its content, its scope and also its timing. It is a statement by two likeminded partners that together represent nearly a third of the world's GDP and reiterate their commitment to uphold the highest standards in areas such as labor, safety, environmental or consumer protection,“ Juncker said.
Cecilia Malmström, 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 agreement also strengthens EU and Japan's commitments on sustainable development and climate change, and fully safeguards public services.