EU, Japan to sign massive trade deal as US puts up barriers

18 July, 2018, 13:30 | Author: Regina Silva
  • How to negotiate a trade deal

We wrote about the potential of the Japan-EU deal to put American food exports at a disadvantage when it was finalized in December.

"In giving full effect to this agreement, the European Union and Japan are sending a powerful message to promote free, fair and rules-based trade, and against protectionism".

The dismantling of trade barriers stands in stark contrast to the approach taken by President Donald Trump, who has imposed tariffs on a range of foreign goods and is threatening more action.

The deal could deal a blow to South Korean exporters that have benefited for many years from the price competitiveness afforded to them by the Korea-EU FTA.

The Yomiuri Shimbun Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker signed the Japan-EU economic partnership agreement on Tuesday in Tokyo following their summit meeting in the Japanese capital.

It brings together economies that account for a third of the world's GDP and are home to over 600 million people.

The signing was delayed from earlier this month because Abe cancelled going to Brussels over a disaster in south-western Japan caused by extremely heavy rainfall, with more than 200 people dying in floods and landslides. He said the partnership is being strengthened in various other areas, including defense, climate change and human exchange, and is "sending a clear message" against protectionism.

The deal eliminates about 99 percent of the tariffs on Japanese goods sold to the EU.

Japan and the European Union signed a new free trade deal on Tuesday
Japan and the European Union signed a new free trade deal on Tuesday

Once in effect, . the deal will eliminate almost all of the tariffs levied on Japanese goods within the European market, . which means South Korean goods will no longer have the same price competitiveness within the market.

The European Union yesterday called on the United States, China and Russian Federation to work together to cool worsening global trade tension, warning that they could spiral into violent "conflict and chaos".

The deal, which is the largest-ever negotiated by the European Union, will unite about 600 million people across both markets.

The agreement stands in sharp contrast to trade developments in the US, where the Trump administration has pushed forward with an array of tariffs on several nations.

The EU officials and Japan will also look to present a united front against U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium, which Tokyo has called "deplorable". Eventually, about 99% of tariffs on all imports will be eliminated.

The huge deal was signed as President Donald Trump unsettles allies and provokes rivals with his aggressive "America First" trade policy.

Abe "has good relations with Trump, but in terms of trade, Japan has sided with the European Union", he told AFP. Japan's growth continues to be heavily dependent on exports. Japan will get cheaper cheese, such as Parmesan, gouda and cheddar, as well as chocolate and biscuits.

Japanese vehicle and auto parts makers are also expected to increase their sales to Europe, where they have lagged behind European rivals.

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