Japan and the European Union to sign landmark free trade deal

Japan and the European Union to sign landmark free trade deal

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe will sign a free trade agreement between the EU and Japan.

EU Japan Free Trade deal

Photo: Reuters

Today, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe will sign a free trade agreement between the EU and Japan.

The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement has been under negotiation since 2013 and was scheduled for signing last week before floods struck Japan. When fully in place, up to 97% of European imports to Japan will be free of custom duties. The two economies will also work to homogenise standards on product safety and the environment, which will facilitate the export and import of products like motor vehicles, currently limited by differing market regulations.

Today’s deal will put the finishing touches on the EU’s largest bilateral trade agreement to date. Perhaps more importantly, it provides a strong signal to the US that the EU and Japan—which together account for almost a quarter of the US’ total trade—remain committed to the liberal global trade order.

Yesterday, EU leaders met their Chinese counterparts to discuss a potential free trade agreement and warmer economic relations. An increase in China and Japan’s presence in Europe will thus only reinforce the consequences of the Trump administration’s near-isolationist strategies by directly encouraging the strengthening of states US policy targets.

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