Today the Summit between the EU and Japan starts in Tokyo. Initially planned for 11th July in Brussels, the meeting was rescheduled due to heavy rains which killed more than 100 people in Japan.
Juncker, President of the European Commission and D. Tusk, President of the European Council are in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Today, they will all sign the trade agreement between the EU and Japan, the “economic partnership agreement” (EPA). According to Brussels, this agreement will send “a very powerful signal against protectionism”. This deal will establish the largest free-trade zone of the world as it removes 99% of the tariffs applied on EU exports to Japan, currently representing €1 billion. The deal opens up the EU to Japanese cars and car parts, and Japan to EU cheese. This agreement represents 1/3rd of the world GDP. Apart from commercial issues, the heads of the EU and Japan may agree on a strategic partnership in order to increase cooperation in security and defence, data protection, and climate change. Finally, the Summit will be the occasion for Japan and the EU to address regional and international issues as the South China sea, the Middle East and the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
For Tokyo, the Summit is clearly an answer to President Trump’s reconsideration of the trans-pacific treaty and refusal to exempt Japan from tariffs on trade he imposed on aluminium and steel. Since the EU-China 20th Summit happened yesterday, these meetings reveal the European will to send a strong message to the US, a defence to the current international trade system.
For further information:
The Irish times, 16/07/2018, https://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/eu-summits-with-china-and-japan-will-send-strong-message-to-us-1.3565834
Channel Asia, 09/07/2018, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/flood-postponed-eu-japan-summit-moved-to-tokyo-10513598