With several years in the making, the new international trade agreement between Japan and the European Union seems to have reached a turning point in the negotiation process.
According to the European trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström, the new economic partnership agreement should be signed in summer 2018 and would be applicable as early as the beginning of 2019.
By now Japan exports goods to Europe amount to $81.8 billion USD, but Japanese firms still face trade barriers, which makes it hard for them to compete on the European market. Due to JEFTA, these barriers will be abolished piece by piece over a period of 15 years, which leads to a total vanishing of 99% of the taxes Japan has to face right now when exporting into the EU.
But not only will JEFTA help increase trade between the two partners, it will also send a powerful signal that two of the world’s biggest economies reject protectionism.