Fruit and cars: a brief guide to the EU-Japan trade deal


European Council President Donald Tusk, left, walks with Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe.

The European Union and Japan have agreed on a broad free trade deal, with their leaders shaking hands on it Thursday.

It’s meant as a direct rebuke of protectionist policies of the kind espoused by U.S. President Donald Trump, who the leaders will meet on Friday for a world summit.

Here’s a look at the agreement, in brief.

What does the trade deal do?

It eliminates tariffs on trade in many goods and services. That will make some products cheaper for consumers and increase sales for some exporters. It will also get rid of regulations that hinder trade, such as having permits for each variety of fruit exported.

How much do the EU and Japan trade?

The EU exports some 58 billion euros in goods and 29 billion euros in services to Japan. Japan exports some 66.7 billion euros in goods and 16 billion in services to the EU. Japan is the EU’s seventh biggest export market, while the EU is Japan’s third most important trading partner.

How big will the impact be?

The EU says it would increase the bloc’s economic output by 0.8 percent. Another report suggested Japanese imports from the EU could grow by a third over several years. Politically, it is meant to reject protectionist policies.

What sectors will gain most?

In the EU, the food and pharmaceutical industries stand to gain most, analysts say. For Japan, a cut to tariffs on cars and car parts could help the country’s big auto industry.

What do critics see as drawbacks?

Some of the biggest concerns have been about protecting farmers, who could be exposed to more competition both in the EU and Japan. Environmental activists say it does not limit Japan’s whaling activities.

How long did it take and when does it start?

Four years of negotiations. That’s relatively brief for big trade deals, though this agreement still needs to be completed. It will take several more months to fill in the details, translate the documents and get approvals from national parliaments. It is expected to go into effect in early 2019.


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