EU and Japan reach free trade deal
Date: July 6, 2017
Source: BBC by Damian Grammaticas
The European Union and Japan have formally agreed an outline free-trade deal.
- The agreement paves the way for trading in goods without tariff barriers between two of the world’s biggest economic areas.
- However, few specific details are known and a full, workable agreement may take some time.
- Two of the most important sectors are Japanese cars and, for Europe, EU farming goods into Japan.
The EU and Japan have done two deals for the price of one: a trade deal and a complementary “Strategic Partnership”. One will create a major free-trading economic bloc, the second will see them co-operate in other areas like combating climate change.
Both are “in principle” deals, some details to be agreed, so there could still be hurdles. But the signal this sends, bringing two of the world’s biggest economic powers together, is unmistakeable.
EU-Japan negotiations began in 2012 then stalled. It was Donald Trump’s election, and the inward turn America is taking, that spurred the EU and Japan to overcome their differences. Both want to show domestic audiences they can deliver signature deals that promise new economic opportunities.
They also want to send a clear message internationally that the EU and Japan, highly-developed democracies, remain committed to a liberal, free-trading, rules-based world, and they will seek to shape it even if the US won’t.