What the new landmark agreements between the EU and Japan really mean

  • Date

    Tue 15 Jan 19

As two major economic and strategic partnership agreements between Japan and the EU come into force, a new book from the University of Essex analyses Japan’s shifting position on the world stage.

The Economic Partnership Agreement, which is expected to come into force on 1 February 2019, is the largest bilateral trade deal ever made by the EU in terms of market size. It drastically reduces tariffs between the EU and Japan, paving the way for simpler and faster trade between the two, and therefore an increase in volume.

The Strategic Partnership Agreement, also expected to come into force in early 2019, brings collaboration on issues concerned with security co-operation, including nuclear proliferation, regional security, international terrorism and organised crime, cyber security, and energy and climate security.

The book, entitled EU-Japan Security Cooperation: Trends and Prospects and edited by Emeritus Professor Emil J. Kirchner and Professor Han Dorussen from our Department of Government, assesses co-operation between Japan and the EU on these key issues.

“Together, the EU and Japan are responsible for approximately 30% of world trade, so reduced tariffs between the two will have a significant effect on global trade."  
Emeritus Professor Emil J.Kirchner department of government

Professor Kirchner explains: “The Economic Partnership Agreement and the Strategic Partnership Agreement, both of which signify an ‘opening up’ of Japan, come at a time when its one-time main partner, the US, appears under President Trump’s ‘America First’ policy, to be going the other way with nationalist and protectionist tactics.

“The Agreements demonstrate a shift in attitude from Japan to drop some of its protectionist policies, such as on agricultural products and to strengthen alternative external trade arrangements to those with the US.

“The Agreements are also good news for the UK, as, despite Brexit, the UK will hopefully still benefit from this new sense of collaboration between Japan and the EU.”

The book is available now and is published in the Routledge series Military, Strategic and Security Studies and marks the culmination of an Essex based Erasmus funded project EU-Japan Security Cooperation: Challenges and Opportunities.