Europe's Quiet Trade Pact with Tokyo

A man reads a special edition of the Sankei Shimbun newspaper outside a train station in Tokyo, Japan, June 24, 2016. The headline reads: "Britain, EU Leave". REUTERS/Thomas Peter FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
The headline reads: "Britain, E.U. Leave." Despite Brexit and TTIP woes, a Japan-E.U. trade deal is still chugging along.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    A trade deal with Japan would give the European Union better access to the world’s third-largest economy.

  • Facts


    • The E.U. and Japan plan to finalize a trade pact by end of the year.
    • Brussels wants European companies to have better access to public contracts in Japan, particularly in the areas of rail transport and services.
    • Japan doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the E.U. on country-of-origin labeling.
  • Audio


  • Pdf

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.”

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.