The agreement reached in principle between the European Union and Japan on trade July 5 is significant not only for both sides to the agreement but also for the development of world trade. It is furthermore a well justified rebuke to U.S. protectionism as advocated by President Donald Trump, whose ignorance of economics and prejudices pose long-term threats to U.S. interests.

The agreement was reached by the EU acting together to represent the interests of the 28 member-states. The British may hope that once Brexit is “achieved” Britain can quickly reach an agreement with Japan similar to that between the EU and Japan. Perhaps Japan will concede this in the interest of Japanese investments in Britain, but I would be surprised if it were achieved without some hard bargaining. We should be wise not to underestimate Japanese expertise (legal, linguistic and product specific) as well as toughness in negotiations. The British department of international trade under Liam Fox, its Cabinet minister, lacks experienced negotiators with Japanese expertise.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.