Article: Why Europe and Japan need an EPA

Article written by Philippe Huysveld, CEO & Senior Consultant, GBMC (Global Business & Management Consulting), France - December 2013

The first half of 2013 has seen the beginning of formal negotiations between the European Union (EU) and the Japanese government with the purpose of concluding a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) or even an Economic Integration Agreement (EIA) between Europe and Japan. In parallel, the Country of the Rising Sun has confirmed its participation to the negotiations for the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Project, including in particular Free Trade with the United States (US).

What a contrast with the eighties, characterized by severe trade tensions between Japan & the US, and to a lesser extent, between Japan and the EU, in key sectors such as the Automotive Industry! No more huge trade surplus in favour of Japan!

Japan has come a long way since then, with a greater opening of its trade to the rest of the world, put into practice by the lifting of a certain number of non-tariff barriers and the multiplication of Free Trade Agreements!

Why not make use of this positive evolution? Before reviewing the Pros and Cons, let us analyze in brief the development of this country’s foreign trade in the post-war period.