EU, Japan intend to finalize EPA by year-end

Jiji Press BRUSSELS (Jiji Press) — Senior European Union official Cecilia Malmstrom reconfirmed the EU’s intention on Friday to reach a final accord on its economic partnership agreement with Japan by year-end.

At a press conference, the European commissioner for trade said she believes that the EU and Japan will be able to wrap up their talks on the final agreement by Christmas, after reaching a broad accord in July.

Meanwhile, Malmstrom said that a mechanism for settling disputes between companies and countries where they have invested is the only major issue that remains unresolved, indicating that the two sides are focusing on the matter in their ongoing negotiations.

The EU has been calling for the establishment of a permanent investment court system. But Japan remains cautious about the proposal.

According to sources familiar with the situation, the EU is talking with Japan while keeping in mind the possibility of separating issues related to investment dispute settlement from the envisioned EPA.

Malmstrom said that the EU and Japan will need to consider the structure of a document on the final accord at some point.Speech

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