Position paper on the trade agreement between the EU and Japan

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Bdew | 25 May 2018

Position paper on the trade agreement between the EU and Japan

  • Executive Summary

While there were various shortcomings for public water supply in the EU-Canada "Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement" CETA there are more missing provi-sions for water protection in the EU-Japan "Economic Partnership Agreement". The conclusion of negotiations of the EU-Japan-Agreement had been declared officially on 8 Dec 2017. On the other hand there are no risks for public water supply resulting from investment protection because so far investment protection has been left out of the EU-Japan Agree-ment.

Like in the CETA Agreement (pdf p. 924 of 1088). there is a reservation for public water sup-ply in the EU providing protection from liberalisation obligations (pdf p. 140 of 203). Yet, the Agreement imposes progressive and mutual (reciprocal) liberalisation (pdf p. 187 of 563). As Japan grants market access to water supply in Japan there is a significant increase in pressure for further liberalization of water supply in the EU as well.

Furthermore the Agreement includes the establishment of a number of Committees which could be beyond parlamentary control in certain cases. Further scrutiny appears to be necessary to find out if possibilities for liberalisation of water supply without the due parliamentary con-trol result.

Unlike CETA, the German reservation for waste water services has been left out in the most important GATS-mode (pdf p. 80 of 203) resulting in a market access obligation for waste water services in Germany as a consequence.

Unlike CETA (pdf p. 91 of 1088), an EU reservation for water supply regarding "Domestic Regulation“ is missing in the EU-Japan Agreement. This could result in a loss of regulatory space for safeguarding standards of water supply in member states as well as on EU level, for instance by classifying regulations for safeguarding drinking water quality as mere technical barriers to trade which have to be eliminated.

CETA’s extra article on water (pdf p. 30 of 1088) has been left out completely resulting in leaving out "rights relating to water". This could induce a development leading to water as a mere tradeable good and privately owned raw material. Furthermore, means of protect-ing and preserving water resources would be impaired.

Like in CETA, the EU term "precautionary principle" is not mentioned. Therefore, this es-sential fundament of EU consumer and environmental protection is continued to be under-mined, especially regarding international issues.

The Commission’s schedule is aiming at terminating ratification at EU level at high-speed already in 2018. Subsequently the Agreement should enter into force, for the first time with-out ratification in member states. The ratification process in the Council was initiated on 18 April 2018.

The full paper in German (pdf)

source: Bdew