Free trade deal between EU and Japan planned
Ireland expects to advance negotiations on a free trade agreement between the European Union and Japan during its presidency of the European Council, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said yesterday.
Addressing the International Trade Committee in Brussels yesterday, Mr Bruton said that progressing US-EU trade talks was also a priority of the Irish presidency.
“Subject to the recommendations of the EU-US high-level working group, our priority is to put our energies into strengthening the transatlantic marketplace,” he said.
The European Commission announced in November plans to open talks on a free trade agreement with Japan.
Such an agreement could add €42 billion to European Union GDP, according to the commission.
A spokesman for Mr Bruton confirmed that Ireland expected talks with Japan would begin during its presidency.
Trade negotiations with Moldova, Georgia and Armenia would be “substantially completed” during the Irish presidency, Mr Bruton told the international trade committee.
Mr Bruton was one of a number of Government Ministers presenting priorities for Ireland’s presidency to European Parliament committees in Brussels yesterday.
Securing agreement from the European Parliament is a key function of the presidency of the European Council, particularly since the parliament gained additional co-decision-making powers following the Lisbon Treaty.
Addressing the committee on regional development, Minister for Public expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said the European Council hoped to agree on EU cohesion policy in April, and conclude negotiations by the summer.
Noting that a final decision on European cohesion funds was linked to the progress of the EU budget, Mr Howlin expressed confidence that a final decision could nonetheless be reached by the end of Ireland’s presidency .
Mr Howlin described cohesion policy as one of Europe’s success stories.