The European Union and Japan have signed a free trade agreement.

Initially, the agreement was to be signed last week in Brussels, but the EU-Japan summit was postponed due to the floods that hit the Land of the Rising Sun. Heads of European institutions have declared that they can go to Tokyo to finalize the deal.

Thanks to the agreement, EU entrepreneurs can save up to a billion dollars in duties paid by the EU to Japan each year. It will also remove a number of long-term regulatory barriers, for example in the automotive sector. The opening of the Japanese market, which has 127 million consumers, is expected to increase EU export opportunities.

The European Union signed an agreement with Japan regarding the flow of personal data for business purposes. It is part of a larger package of agreements, which also includes a free trade agreement negotiated over the last five years.

The decision of the European Commission means that personal data can be exchanged between Japan and the European Union without the need for additional permits. These data are crucial for running a business in most sectors of the economy. It includes for the exchange of data on company employees or credit cards in online transactions. However, recently tightened EU rules on the personal data of EU citizens prohibit their storage by companies on servers in countries considered to have too low security. As noted by the Reuters agency – a similar agreement with the USA in 2015 was annulled by the Court of Justice, due to insufficient – according to judges – protection of personal data of Union citizens in the US. However, the European Union and the United States managed to negotiate a new agreement that has been in force for a year.