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The EU is engaged in its most ambitious programme of trade negotiations in history, worth over £20billion to the UK economy.  The UK Government is committed to ensuring that UK priorities for all free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations fully reflect the views of the UK business community in order to maximise the UK plc benefits in these agreements.

Following the recent conclusion of negotiations for the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and EU-Andean (Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) FTA, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) are analysing the texts of these agreements to find out exactly what opportunities they will deliver for UK businesses, these will be promoted throughout the UK.

Current EU trade negotiations that we would welcome UK business views on include the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), EU-Mercosur FTA (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela) and potential modernisation of the EU-Mexico FTA (which has been in force since 2000). 

We would be grateful if your company/organisation would answer the following questions and send your response to the Joint BIS/DfID/FCO Trade Policy Unit ([email protected]) by Friday 27th February 2015 latest:

1. What barriers to trade and/or investment does your company/organisation face doing business in the following markets:
i) Japan
ii) Mexico
iii) Mercosur (i.e. Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela)
*Please provide a short summary of any issues and we will contact you if we need further details.

2. Are these barriers specific to your company/organisation or do they affect your business sector?  How would your company/organisation benefit if these barriers were removed?

3. Has your company/organisation previously raised these issues with a UK Government Department/Agency (if yes, which one(s), where and when?) Were you satisfied with the way your enquiry was handled/taken forward? 

4. Is your company/organisation aware of the following FTAs and the opportunities they offer to UK business?
i) EU-Mexico Global Agreement, which had been in force since 2000 for goods and 2001 for services*
ii) EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, concluded in September 2014 and due to enter into force in 2016.
iii)EU-Andean (Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) FTA*, trade provisions been provisionally applied with Peru as of 1 March 2013 and with Colombia as of 1 August 2013. Negotiations for Ecuador’s accession to the Andean agreement concluded in July 2014 and so will likely enter into force in 2016.
* If yes, have you encountered any problems trying to take advantage of EU-Mexico or EU-Andean FTA opportunities?  Please provide a short summary of any issues and we will contact you if we need further details. 

5. What specific market liberalisation would you like to see included in the EU-Japan EPA, the EU-Mercosur FTA and/or a modernised EU-Mexico FTA?  For example:
i) Elimination of tariffs in particular sectors?
ii) Parity with local/other foreign competitors for public procurement contracts?
iii) Intellectual property protection?
*Please provide a short summary of any issues and we will contact you if we need further details.

6. For the EU-Japan EPA negotiations, many aspects of harmonising industry standards and regulations between the EU and Japan are still under discussion. However, since negotiations started in 2013, Japan has already made a number of reforms to some of its industry standards. Have these regulatory reforms made exporting to Japan easier for your company? Or have these reforms failed to improve the business environment for your company; and if so, why?

We look forward to receiving your response.  Thank you in advance for your valued contribution to this important business consultation.