With public scrutiny laser-focused on the controversial U.S. and Canada trade pacts, the European Union hopes to quietly slip a trade deal with Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, under the radar.
“The timing is decisive because things aren’t going to get any easier,” Jyrki Katainen, the vice president of the European Commission, said during a trip to Tokyo this week.
Both Brussels and Tokyo feel a sense of urgency, as does the business community that is backing the deal.
Yoshimitsu Kobayashi, president of the Japanese association of chief executives Keizai Doyukai, pointed to the upcoming elections in France and Germany next year and expressed concern that “anti-E.U. parties are going strong.”