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Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald and Minister Breen welcome agreement on landmark new trade deal with Japan

New opportunities will now be available for Irish companies in the world’s third largest economy

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise and Innovation Frances Fitzgerald TD and Minister for Trade Pat Breen TD today welcomed the milestone in achieving progress on the EU new trade deal with Japan which will bring great benefits to Ireland.

The Tánaiste welcoming the landmark deal said “Together with the EU- Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, today sends a powerful signal that international cooperation is the way to tackle global challenges and an important stand against protectionism.

Later this year, I look forward to leading a Trade and Investment Mission to Japan which will intensify Ireland’s efforts in further developing the economic and trade links between Ireland and Japan, at this time of enhanced economic partnership. This mission will reinforce the potential for Irish companies in the Japanese market and provide a platform for accelerated export growth and investment opportunities.”

Minister Pat Breen with responsibility for Trade added “I am very pleased that political agreement has been achieved on the landmark free trade agreement negotiations with Japan.

Japan is the third largest economy in the world and this important trade agreement will open up exciting opportunities for Irish exporters and companies across a wide range of sectors, helping them to tap into Japan’s large market. Agri-food, which is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry, will see particular benefits from the agreement, with new access for dairy products in particular beef and chedder cheese industries”.

The progress achieved will also ensure tariff elimination on medical devices and pharmaceutical products which is very good news for Irish industry.

This announcement by the EU and Japan of the world’s largest trade deal underlines Europe’s leadership in setting global trade rules.




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Note for Editors:

The Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe is in Brussels today to attend the EU-Japan Summit. The EU will be represented by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, and by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission.

Ireland – Japan in Numbers


Japan is the third largest economy in the world and is Ireland’s biggest trade partner in Asia after China and the largest source of FDI into Ireland from Asia.

Goods Trade

Japan is one of Ireland’s top 10 goods export markets.

Ireland’s goods trade with Japan is now valued at over €4 bn a year, up from €2.2 billion in 2005.

In 2016, the value of goods exports from Ireland to Japan was €2.9 bn and the value of goods imports was €1.2 bn.

Ireland’s principal goods exports were Medical & Pharmaceutical Products and our principal imports were Road Vehicles and Industrial Machinery.

Services Trade

Japan is Ireland’s 9th largest services export market.

Ireland’s services trade with Japan is valued at over €4 bn a year.

In 2015, the value of services exports from Ireland to Japan was €3.2 bn and the value of services imports was €1 bn.

Employment in Japanese companies in Ireland

There are more than 50 Japanese companies with a presence in Ireland across a wide range of industrial sectors. Japanese companies employ c. 3,900 people in Ireland.

EU-Japan Trade

Japan is the EU’s second biggest trading partner in Asia after China.

Together the EU and Japan account for more than a third of the world's GDP.

Japan remains a major trade partner for the EU and Europe is a very important market for Japan. Japan is also a major investor in the EU.

This political agreement has major significance as it closes negotiations on approximately 90 per cent of the accord, including market access issues. The agreement will bring tariffs to zero in the sectors of most importance to Ireland including agriculture, fisheries and financial services. However, a final text will still need to be agreed between the negotiating parties.

The EU Commission has predicted that agriculture exports from the EU to Japan could be boosted by one-third as a result of the agreement.