Conference is over

EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement & Reforming the Multilateral Trading System

Place du Congrès, Brussels, Belgium

Participation in this event is free of charge. A light lunch will be served from 12.30


EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement & Reforming the Multilateral Trading System


With protectionism looming, is open and fair trade still possible? How can we break the impasse at the WTO?

This seminar will focus on the EU-Japan Partnership Agreement (EPA) as an example of open and fair trade as advocated by the EU and Japan. It will also detail the strong leadership that the EU and Japan are undertaking in advancing the discussions of WTO reform and in defending multilateralism.

The EPA, which entered into force on 1 February 2019, covers nearly one-third of global GDP and more than half of world trade, and is one of the biggest trade agreements ever concluded. Its significance is three-fold. First, it considerably reduces tariffs and breaks down non-tariff trade barriers, facilitates services and encourages increased activities in a number of service sectors that account for 90% of Europe’s job creation. Second, the EPA supports achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by including specific provisions of the Paris Climate Accord, which is a first. Both the EU and Japan also commit to high standards for workers’ rights and consumer protection. Third, given the economic strength of both, the EPA is regarded as a success in rule-making for global trade.

At the same time, the WTO multilateral trading system has now reached a critical point on two fronts. First, the dispute settlement mechanism may come to an end as soon as December 2019 as, at that point in time, there will be less than the minimum three members required for the Appellate Body to hear an appeal. Second, the WTO’s rule-making capacity – for example, regarding transparency, industrial subsidies and state-owned enterprises – has been undermined in recent years as it has not been able to adapt sufficiently to the rapidly changing global economy. This is causing an uneven playing field, undermining the foundation of open and fair trade and rendering the multilateral system less relevant in the process. Various WTO reform proposals have been submitted in order to break the impasse, and the EU and Japan are playing an active role in advancing WTO reform.

Very important:

Please note that only a limited number of places is available for this meeting. An email will be sent to you by Anne-Marie Boudou prior to the event to confirm your participation for good.

Weinian Hu Weinian Hu
Weinian Hu

Speakers list
Karel Lannoo


Antoine Kasel

EU Sherpa for the G20 and Cabinet of the President of the European Commission

Kazuo Kodama

Ambassador, Mission of Japan to the EU

Koen Berden

Executive Director International Affairs, EFPIA & Assistant Professor, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Marco Chirullo

Deputy Head of Unit, DG Trade, European Commission

Masahiko Yoshii

Professor of Economics, Vice-President, Kobe University

Yuka Fukunaga

Professor, Waseda University

Myrto Zambarta

Head of WTO unit, DG Trade, European Commission

Hiroo Inoue

Executive Director, Japan External Trade Office, Brussels

Sonali Chowdhry

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow, Kiel Institute for the World Economy

Shada Islam

Director of Europe and Geopolitics, Friends of Europe

Gunnar Wiegand

Managing Director Asia and the Pacific, European External Action Service