On 18 April, the European Commission signed off on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the EU-Singapore trade and investment agreement before proposing the signature of both texts to the Council.

These are the second and third major free trade deals the EU has struck with Asian countries, after South Korea in 2011. Once approved by the Council, the agreements will be sent to the European Parliament, with the aim of having both enter into force before the end of the current mandate of the European Commission in 2019.

Separately, on 21 April, the EU and Mexico reached a new agreement on trade, part of a broader, modernised EU-Mexico Global Agreement.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “With this agreement, Mexico joins Canada, Japan and Singapore in the growing list of partners willing to work with the EU in defending open, fair and rules-based trade."

ICMP closely monitors Free Trade Agreements as they are important for promoting a sound system of Intellectual Property Rights protection and enforcement at international level.