EU approves world’s largest free trade deal with Japan

On December 12, the European Parliament has approved the world’s largest free trade deal between Japan and the European Union (EU). The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement will go into effect in February 2019. It will remove duties on almost all agricultural and industrial products as well as open up the service sector and procurement. It also moves to eliminate non-tariff barriers to trade.

It includes standards of labor, safety, environment, consumer protection and, for the first time, a specific commitment to the Paris climate agreement. The EU-Japan agreement has been celebrated as a victory for Europe as a free trade champion in the face of U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionism and the U.K.’s decision to leave the EU. This agreement is projected to increase exports between the two economies by 34% for the EU and 29% for Japan, liberalizing up to 99% of bilateral trade.

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