JEFTA: An exclusive trade between EU negotiators and big business



While the deal is officially called the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, the nature of the agreement is far from a genuine partnership: Many interest groups, in Japan and in the EU, have not had an equal say in the negotiations of this deal.

The negotiations for the Japan-EU free trade deal started in March 2013 and concluded in December 2017. Commission files obtained via freedom of information requests show that between January 2014 and January 2017, the European Commission’s trade department (DG Trade) had 213 closed-door meetings with lobbyists to discuss the negotiations.

190 of those meetings (89%) were with business lobbyists while only 9 (4%) were with public interest groups like NGOs, farmers’ unions and consumer groups. No meetings at all were held with representatives of trade unions or with federations of small and medium-sized enterprises, and the remaining 7% of meetings were with other actors such as public institutions and thinks tanks. (Check the full data set and how we gathered it here).

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