On February 1, 2019, the European Union (EU) and Japan signed a historic trade agreement known as the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). This ambitious agreement aims to reduce barriers to trade and increase economic growth between the two regions.
The EPA is the largest free trade agreement ever concluded by the EU and covers a population of over 600 million people. It eliminates tariffs on 99% of all goods traded between the EU and Japan and includes important commitments on market access for services and public procurement.
One of the key benefits of the EPA is that it will make it easier and cheaper for EU companies to export to Japan, and vice versa. This will help to boost trade and investment flows between the two regions, creating new opportunities for businesses and consumers alike.
In addition to the economic benefits, the EPA also includes a number of important provisions on environmental and labor standards, as well as intellectual property protection. This demonstrates the commitment of both the EU and Japan to uphold high standards and promote sustainable development.
The EPA is also a significant step in the context of the current global trade environment. With rising protectionism and the threat of trade wars, the EU and Japan have shown that they are committed to open and fair trade. By working together, they can help to set a positive example for others to follow.
Overall, the EU-Japan EPA is a major achievement for both regions and an important milestone in the history of global trade. While there are still challenges to overcome, this agreement sends a powerful message that cooperation and collaboration can lead to mutual benefits and better outcomes for all.