EU-Japan: free trade agreement a sign of commitment to economic cooperation

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Publication Date 2017
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The EU and Japan are important economic partners. They have been negotiating a bilateral free trade agreement since 2013. Both sides could benefit from this. More important than the potential GDP increase, however, would be the strategic value of such an agreement. In this era of Brexit and Trump, it would signal a clear commitment to economic cooperation and free trade.

Electro-mobility, robots, computers – there are many fields in which Japan is regarded as one of the most innovative countries in the world. At the same time, the country’s economy is facing significant challenges: an aging society, high government debt and stagnating growth. The Japanese government’s reform program (known as "Abenomics") wants to inject new impetus into the economy by negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs), among other things.

The EU and Japan are currently negotiating an FTA and are striving to complete the negotiations quickly, possibly even before the end of 2017. Japan is the EU's sixth-largest trade partner, while the EU is the third most important for Japan. The trade volume between the two countries amounted to around EUR 125 billion in 2016. Yet there is still potential for that to increase, given that trade barriers persist on both sides. An FTA could further reduce duties and non-tariff barriers and have positive economic effects for both sides.


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ESO: Background information: EU and Japan leaders give green light to landmark economic and strategic partnership agreements, July 2017

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