S&Ds welcome political agreement on EU-Japan trade deal but set out clear conditions for final approval

Miniature Japanese and EU flags

Reacting to today's announcement by Commissioner Cecilia Malmström that a political agreement on a trade deal between the EU and Japan has been reached on the ministerial level ahead of a bilateral summit tomorrow, the S&D Group insists on the immediate and constant involvement of the European Parliament in the negotiations and sets out red lines that will have to be met for any deal to gain their support.

Negotiations on an EU-Japan trade deal have been underway since March 2013 and are well advanced. The details of the trade deal will still need to be hammered out in the coming months and the final outcome of the negotiations will have to be approved by the European Parliament.

Pedro Silva Pereira, S&D MEP and negotiator on the EU-Japan trade deal, said:

“The political agreement on a trade deal between two of the world’s largest trading powers sends a strong signal in favour of a balanced, fair and regulated trade system. An EU-Japan trade deal is not only of strategic importance but also promises huge benefits for sustainable growth and jobs.

“Opening up opportunities for business is not enough. To win our support, any trade deal with Japan must be in line with our values, uphold the EU’s high standards and have a robust, sustainable development chapter with clear commitments to labour standards and the Paris climate agreement. The Socialists and Democrats will never accept the inclusion of an old-fashioned private Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement mechanism.”

Alessia Mosca, S&D MEP and spokesperson on trade, said:

“Today’s political agreement is a good sign for both parties, but it is not the same as a successful conclusion of negotiations. There is still some way to go in some of the most problematic areas and we insist on the involvement of the European Parliament every step of the way. Because we want to make sure that if there is a final deal it will be a good deal for our citizens.

“We will keep a close eye on the situation of agricultural producers and workers in the railway sector in particular. We want to see more transparency and information about the negotiations and greater involvement of civil society. The publication of the EU-Japan negotiation mandate by the Council would be a big step forward. Only a comprehensive, balanced and progressive trade agreement that goes beyond the EU-Canada trade deal will get our support.”