EU - Japan trade agreement effective on Feb 1, 2019

On February 1, 2019 the European Union (EU) - Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) becomes effective. The EPA creates a trading area that covers 600 million people and close to a third of global gross domestic product.

The EPA is the biggest trade agreement concluded to date by the EU. 99% of the tariffs applied on EU exports to Japan which currently amount to €1 billion, will be removed.”(1)

The EU exports more than 58 billion in goods and 28 billion in services to Japan each year.(2)


  1. European Council Press Release - “EU-Japan trade agreement will enter into force on 1 February 2019” - 21/12/2018

  2. European Commission - “EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement” - Official Page

  3. European Commission - “Fact sheets about the agreement” - News archive

OFAC Amends the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations

On Thursday, June 28 the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) amended (1) the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (2) in order to implement the President's May 8, 2018 decision (3) to end U.S. participation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).  The changes include, but are not limited to:

  • Amending the general licenses authorizing the importation into the US (4) of and dealings in, Iranian-origin carpets and foodstuffs, as well as related letters of credit and brokering services, to narrow the scope of the licenses and to allow for the wind down of these activities through August 6, 2018;
  • Adding a new general license to authorize the wind down, through August 6, 2018, of transactions related to the negotiation of contingent contracts for activities, previously approved under General License I (5), related to the export or re-export to Iran of commercial passenger aircraft and related parts and services; and 
  • Adding a new general license (6) to authorize the wind down, through November 4, 2018 of certain transactions, previously approved under General License H (7), related to foreign entities owned or controlled by a US Person (8).
    • Non-US entities that are owned or controlled by a US Person are still subject to the restrictions on US Person involvement during the wind down period (9).  

For more information contact your GCSG experts.



WTO Trade Agreement enters into force

On February 22, 2017, the first multi-lateral trade agreement in the history of the World Trade Organization (WTO) was entered into force.  The 110 nation ratification threshold for triggering the Trade Facilitation Agreement ("Agreement") was reached with the ratification and submission of instruments of acceptance by Rwanda, Oman, Chad and Jordan.

While this is an important milestone, the hard work of implementation is just beginning.  Developed countries have in principle agreed to implement the Agreement immediately, while developing countries have a longer timetable to implement the provisions of the Agreement. 

The following members have accepted the TFA: Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States, Mauritius, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Botswana, Trinidad and Tobago, the Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Niger, Belize, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, China, Liechtenstein, Lao PDR, New Zealand, Togo, Thailand, the European Union, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Pakistan,  Panama,  Guyana, Cote d'Ivoire, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Kenya, Myanmar, Norway, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam, Ukraine, Zambia, Lesotho, Georgia, Seychelles, Jamaica, Mali, Cambodia, Paraguay, Turkey, Brazil, Macao China, the United Arab Emirates, Samoa, India, the Russian Federation, Montenegro, Albania, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, Madagascar, the Republic of Moldova, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Senegal, Uruguay, Bahrain, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Iceland, Chile, Swaziland, Dominica, Mongolia, Gabon, the Kyrgyz Republic, Canada, Ghana, Mozambique, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Nigeria, Nepal, Rwanda, Oman, Chad and Jordan.

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