Consumer organisations urge EU-Japan trade negotiators to deliver for consumers

BEUC NEWS - 06.09.2017

Technical negotiations are about to start between the EU and Japan to fine-tune their future trade agreement. Today, Consumers Union of Japan (CUJ) and The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) sent recommendations to negotiators on how to ensure these talks lead to an EU-Japan trade deal that works for consumers.

In July, the European Union and Japan reached a so-called ‘political agreement’ for a trade deal. But this does not constitute the final product: many details remain open-ended and will be decided in technical talks starting this month.

For example, clear consumer benefits of the agreement have not yet been formulated at this stage. Negotiators could, for instance, capitalise on their ambition to reduce telecom prices, including roaming fees.

Our checklist provides a way forward. In this light, we also await the opportunity to review a European Commission document that is supposed to formulate these benefits.

To ensure the EU-Japan trade deal won’t negatively affect consumer protection, we urge negotiators to refrain from including an Investor to State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system.

By involving consumer organisations more, we can play a crucial role by providing input and contribute to a deal which benefits consumers. This requires that both negotiating sides publish their negotiating positions, common texts and generally communicate better on the agreement’s content during this technical phase.

CUJ and BEUC today sent a letter to both the EU trade commissioner and Japanese foreign affairs minister detailing our recommendations.

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