The European Union and Japan have taken a major step towards agreeing to a full trade treaty, reaching a “political agreement” to negotiate a bilateral trade deal on 6 July 2017.
At the same time, the EU Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, and JFTC Chairman, Kazuyuki Sugimoto, are preparing for negotiations to expand the existing agreement concerning cooperation in investigations on anti-competitive activities. Foreign ministers have now approved the next step in the process, making the decision to enable the EU Commission and the Japanese Government to commence talks. The general view is that the current EU agreement with Japan, signed in 2003, lacks adequate information sharing provisions. This has become a barrier to streamlined cooperation and efficiency in investigating international cartels.