Japan and the European Union just announced a deal on free trade and will seek to reach a final agreement by the end of this year. The EU has already promised to phase out its 10 percent levy on Japanese automobiles, while Japan says it will eliminate taxes on a raft of food items.
However, one sticking point remains: cheese. The EU has demanded even lower tariffs on cheese than what Japan had negotiated for in the Trans Pacific Partnership, to which the EU was not a party. Originally, Japan said it would not yield more than what it concluded for the now defunct TPP, a 29.8 percent tariff for “soft-type cheese,” because if it did the U.S. would likely demand similar concessions when it gets around to negotiating a new bilateral trade agreement with Japan.