Japan and the European Union will hold their next round of talks on concluding a free trade agreement in Tokyo in the second week of July, the European Commission said Wednesday.
The meeting was arranged as EU member states agreed to continue the negotiations after seeing progress in Japan’s efforts to reduce trade barriers.
The commission, which is negotiating with Tokyo over the trade pact, has been urging Japan to further open its market since the two sides launched the negotiations in April last year.
Tokyo is seeking the elimination of EU tariffs on Japanese exports of automobiles and electronic appliances such as televisions, while the 28-member bloc apparently wants greater market access for wine, cheese and pork exports to Japan.
Last month, Fleur Pellerin, French secretary of state for foreign trade, said that France views Japan’s efforts to open up the railway sector, one of the European Union’s key interests, as still insufficient.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has unveiled a plan to broadly conclude an FTA in 2015, but Japan and the European Union are still finding it difficult to resolve the issue of eliminating or reducing tariffs.