An end to whaling is not negotiable
The EU and Japan launched the first round of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) this week right on the doorstep of the International Fund for Animal Welfare EU office in Brussels, Belgium. The aim is a comprehensive agreement in goods, services and investment eliminating tariffs, non-tariff barriers and covering other trade-related issues.
So-called new generation trade deals specifically establish shared commitments and a framework for cooperation on trade and sustainable development. Sustainable development is a rather ambiguous term which unfortunately too often covers mostly ‘development’ and neglects the ‘sustainable’ aspect. IFAW works hard to remind policy makers around the globe that conservation of nature and animals is a vital component of sustainability.
This trade deal has the potential to save hundreds or thousands of whales from a cruel and unnecessary death. IFAW will continue to remind the EU of its existing policies for the protection of whales and the importance of negotiating trade deals with trustworthy partners who respect internationally agreed rules (like the global moratorium on whale hunting).
The finished trade deal is likely years away but when it is completed it needs to be approved by the European Parliament. Fortunately, the Parliament has responded to IFAW’s concern for the welfare of whales. The European Parliament recently accepted, as part of its Resolution on EU trade negotiations with Japan, several amendments from MEP David Martin (Labour, Scotland), including that the EU supports the “maintenance of the global moratorium on commercial whaling and a ban on commercial trade in whale products, seek(s) to end so-called scientific whaling and support(s) the designation of substantial regions of ocean and seas as sanctuaries…”.
Japan needs to understand that it has a choice: continue to defend a cruel, antiquated 19th Century industry or join the 21st Century, stop whaling and negotiate a free trade deal agreement that can potentially help millions of citizens in the EU and Japan.
EU – Japan free trade by numbers:
- Japan is the EU's 7th largest trading partner globally.
- The European Union is Japan’s 3rd largest trading partner, after China and the US.
- An agreement is expected to boost the EU’s economy by 0.6 to 0.8% of its GDP.
- EU exports to Japan could increase by 32.7%.
- Japanese exports to the EU would increase by 23.5%.
- In 2011 EU imports from Japan accounted for €67.5 billion.
- Annual subsidies to Japanese whaling total 782 million yen (€6.09 million).
- Global whale watching is worth €1.6 billion/year globally.
- 103 Minke whales killed by Japan in 2013 (lowest total since ‘scientific whaling’ began in 1987).