On March 25, 2012, Prime Minister Harper and then Prime Minister Noda announced the launch of comprehensive and high-level economic partnership agreement (EPA) negotiations, or free trade negotiations, in Tokyo, Japan (see News Release: PM announces launch of free trade negotiations with Japan).
The announcement followed the March 7, 2012, release of a Canada and Japan Joint Study examining the feasibility for a free trade agreement and outlining a broad range of issues which could be negotiated, including trade in goods, services, investment and trade facilitation (see Report of the Joint Study on the Possibility of a Canada-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement). The Joint Study examines each country’s approach to these various issues, and the areas of common ground. The study also summarizes the significant economic gains to be achieved through an EPA with Japan. The Study projects potential gross domestic product gains of approximately $4 billion each for Canada and Japan as a result of free trade. According to the study’s findings, there remains much untapped potential in the Canada-Japan trade relationship.
Announced on October 29, 2012, by the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, the first full round of negotiations was held in Tokyo the week of November 26, 2012 (see News Release: Harper Government Set to Launch First Full Round of Trade Negotiations with Japan). This productive round allowed for progress to be made across a broad range of areas. Canada looks forward to hosting a second round in early spring 2013, in Ottawa (see News Release: Canada and Japan Conclude Productive First Round of Trade Negotiations).