EuroDiplomat

EU and Japan trade agreement talks

Brussels and Tokyo have been negotiating a major trade deal that once implemented will send a strong message to populist leaders across the globe.

After two days of talks in the Japanese capital, Cecilia Malmström expressed her satisfaction with the course of negotiations, stating: “I’m quite confident that leaders can agree at the summit”. The EU and Japan should sign the agreement during the G20 Summit that will take place in the upcoming weeks, in Hamburg, Germany.

Her Japanese counterpart, the Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, however, made a more careful statement: “While there was meaningful progress in the negotiations, there are still important issues left for both sides to close”

According to the sources of the New York Times, the trade deal would facilitate Japanese access to the European market regarding the automobile and machinery industries. Also, the agreement will require that Japan opens its market for agricultural goods from the EU. Besides, both parties would establish a mechanism for settling disputes on investments and trade barriers.

The future measures that shall reduce tariffs for cars and spare parts could severely pose a threat for British carmakers that won’t be able to benefit from such deal due to the Brexit.

Japan is looking forward to signing this trade deal, especially after the collapse of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (the initiative lost momentum after the American president Trump withdrew the deal). This nationalistic approach by the tenant of the White House is pushing European leaders to fill the void. It should be noted that last February the EU signed a deal with Canada. Okay, the agreement almost collapsed before its approval, but it was finally passed.

Although there is a lot of enthusiasm concerning this agreement, environmentalists are a little bit skeptical about it. Why? Because many hot items were left aside, especially when it comes to illegal timber trade and overfishing.

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