EU trade chief reconfirms plans for EPA with Japan by Christmas


European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom on Friday reconfirmed the EU’s intention of reaching an economic partnership agreement with Japan by the end of the year.

At a news conference, she said she believes the EU and Japan will be able to wrap up their talks on a final agreement by Christmas, after reaching a broad agreement in July.

Malmstrom said a mechanism for settling investment disputes between companies and countries is the only major unresolved issue, indicating that the two sides are focusing on this in their negotiations.

The EU has been calling for the establishment of a permanent investment court system, but Japan remains reluctant about the proposal.

Sources said the EU is keeping in mind the possibility of separating issues related to investment disputes from the envisioned EPA.

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