Ireland hopes to boost exports under Japan-EU trade agreement

JIJI

Ireland hopes to boost exports to Japan under an economic partnership pact the European Union and Japan reached a broad agreement on in July, Irish Deputy Prime Minister Frances Fitzgerald said in a recent interview.

“We think it will open up a lot of opportunities for exporters, and increase trade between Europe and Japan,” Fitzgerald said. She also underscored the significance of the free trade pact to her country, which will be significantly affected by the exit of Britain, its key trading partner, from the EU.

“We want to see more of food products in Japan,” Fitzgerald noted.

After the EPA fully takes effect, Japan’s import tariff on beef from the EU will be lowered from 38.5 percent to 9 percent in stages over 15 years.

The tariff cuts will make Irish beef “more attractive” for Japanese consumers, she noted.

The deputy prime minister also said it is “good news” that Japanese tariffs on EU-made medical equipment and drugs will be scrapped. Ireland is a major exporter of medical products to Japan.

According to Irish government officials, some 80 Japanese companies have business footholds in the country, employing about 4,000 local people.

Ireland is likely to see more Japanese businesses come in from Britain ahead of Brexit, because its labor laws and customs are similar to those of Britain, the officials said.