Even though their relative significance to each other in terms of total trade has tended to decline over past years, the EU and Japan remain important bilateral trade partners. In 2017, Japan was the sixth largest destination market for EU exports of goods and fifth largest market for EU agri-food exports. In the same year, the EU was Japan’s third largest trading partner in goods. Total trade in goods between the EU and Japan accounted for €129.5 billion in 2017, with a trade deficit on the EU side of €8.2 billion. Although Japan benefited in the past from significant surpluses in the trade of goods with the EU, trade figures have recently become considerably more balanced, owing to EU export performance and an overall decline in EU imports.
In 2017, the EU exported €34.6 billion of services to Japan, and recorded a surplus of €16.3 billion in services trade, an upward trend from €4.9 billion in 2010.
As regards investments, the EU’s outward foreign direct investment (FDI) stock held in Japan represented 1.3 % (€99.4 billion) of the EU total in 2017, although the EU was the largest foreign investor in Japan (approximately 40 % of Japan’s inward FDI stock). Conversely, Europe accounted for around a quarter of Japan’s outward FDI stock in 2017, (representing Japan’s second largest destination by share), a significant part of which (about 38 %) is in the UK.