The EU has concluded a free trade deal with Japan, the world’s third largest economy, paving the way for the abolition of tariffs and subsequent reduction in price of many goods.
The agreement, signed by European Council President Donald Tusk and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has been hailed as a symbol of the power of the EU for engaging globally and allowing its member states to access huge markets overseas.
EU President Tusk said that the idea that being outside of the EEA would benefit countries was “not true”, saying the following to the press following the conclusion of the agreement:
“In the context of the discussion about Brexit, we have heard statements claiming that it isn’t worth being in the European Union, as it is easier to do global trade outside of the EU. Today we have shown that this is not true. The EU is more and more engaged globally. And ahead of the EU are negotiations with Mercosur countries, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia and others.”
Although the precise details of the deal are not yet known, it is believed that removing tariffs could reduce the costs of certain car parts by up to 90%, making cars significantly cheaper, and benefitting European farmers through agricultural exports to Japan.
The move is likely to alarm those wanting to leave the single market in the UK, including the Conservatives and the Labour Party – to do so would be to deprive Britain of the benefits of the new free trade agreement, and mean it would have to start from scratch to get the same benefits, which could take many years.