Japan and the European Union signed a trade agreement last week in Tokyo that lowers barriers on the movement of goods and services between the two economies. This creates one of the world’s largest liberalised trade zones.

The Economic Partnership Agreement will remove a wide range of duties and regulatory obstacles between the EU and Japan, helping Japanese car exports and making it easier for European farmers to sell their produce in the Asian nation. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk signed the pact.

The deal, which had been under negotiation since 2013, was awaited for some time, following CETA, concluded by the EU with Canada in 2016-7.

It is worthy to note that the deal, contrary to CETA, does not provide an investor-state dispute resolution system. It is expected to keep potential disputes in national courts or to design an ISDS system in a separate agreement in the future.

The Japan-EU trade agreement is expected to boost Japan’s economy by about 1 percent (approx. USD 44 billion), and add roughly 290,000 jobs in the nation, according to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The EU will benefit mainly from importing goods in Japan, including electronic devices and cars, while exporting food products. A 10% import duty on cars from Japan will be phased out over the next eight years after the deal takes effect, the ministry said.

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