Posted Date: 19/07/2018
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Japan and the EU hold a group to engage in free trade! Is this the opposite of the United States?

Original title: [International Sharp Review] Japan and the EU hold a group to engage in free trade! Is this the opposite of the United States?

On July 17, all major Japanese media were paying attention to the same news event. The keywords were concentrated on the words “against the United States”, “free trade” and “wide-area economic and trade circle"

On this day, the EU and Japan signed the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the largest free trade agreement to date, and is expected to enter into force this year. Once the agreement comes into effect, it will mean that the world's largest trade open zone with a population of 600 million and a GDP of 30% of the world's total is born.

In 2017, Japan was the EU's sixth largest commodity trading partner, ranking behind the United States, China, Switzerland, Russia, and Turkey. The bilateral trade volume reached 129.4 billion euros. After the EPA enters into force, the EU's export tariffs on 99% of goods to Japan will be cancelled, and the tariffs on surplus goods will also decline. According to EU estimates, EU exporters will save 1 billion euros a year. At the same time, the EU will lift tariffs on 85% of Japan's agricultural products. In addition, the EPA not only involves mutual tariff exemption, but also agrees on cooperation in investment channels, employment increase, and competitiveness.

The EPA negotiations between Japan and the EU have gone through several rounds, and the two sides have been unable to reach an agreement because of the very sensitive areas of Japan, such as agricultural products. Unexpectedly, the Brexit has increased the need to sign EPA, and the United States has withdrawn from the TPP, which has strengthened the determination of both Japan and Europe. It now appears that US President Trump has contributed to the final signing of the EPA by Japan and Europe.

Earlier this month, 16 countries including China, Japan, India and ASEAN held a regional conference on regional comprehensive economic partnership (RCEP) in Tokyo. Japan’s economic industry, Shigeo Hiroshi, said, “Strive to reach a basic agreement by the end of the year”. Earlier, on March 8, the “Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement” (CPTPP), which was led by Japan to lead the participation of 10 other TPP negotiating countries, was formally signed.

Why did Japan sign a free trade agreement with the EU at this time? Why have there been recent moves in promoting multilateral trade? This has not only the established planning factors in Japan's diplomatic relations, but also the hope of rebelling against Europe, getting rid of the pressure of US trade sanctions, and expanding the consideration of their external economic base.

Japan and the EU hold a group to engage in free trade! Is this the opposite of the United States?


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