EU and Japan find an agreement for free trade. However, it’s below expectations

Italian and European tanners remain bitter in the mouth. On 5 July, European Commissioner for Foreign Trade Cecilia Malmström communicated with Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, the definition of a political understanding for the so-called JEFTA, the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and Japan. Negotiations – years long (more about La Conceria we talked about it on issue 10 of 2017) and the end of a final pact, arrived on a timely basis. For the leather industry, however, is not a good understanding. According to what is learned – however, there are still official communications – the EU has achieved the abolition of the quota system which until now has set Japan’s entry into fake European skins. At the same time, however, he did not rupture favourable conditions for opening the Japanese market to materials made in Europe. According to the agreement, now definitive, while imports from Tokyo to the Old Continent will be free of charge immediately, European skin will still be subjected to a 21% duty, to be reset linearly over ten years. It means that – pending the ratification of the Treaty by the European Parliament and those of the member states (it could take three years) – they will still need two shades before the European skin has free access to the Japanese market. This figure is daunting for the Italian tannery, the first Japanese industry supplier. There are also some comforting aspects. Japan, in fact, first asked to fix the duty at 27%.


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