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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 July 18 - 24  > Japan signs EPA with EU amid farmers’ opposition
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2018 July 18 - 24 [ECONOMY]

Japan signs EPA with EU amid farmers’ opposition

July 18, 2018

Japan and the EU on July 17 signed an economic partnership agreement in Tokyo. Japan promised to eliminate tariffs on 100% of industrial product imports and 82% of agricultural, fishery, and forestry product imports. It is feared that in the trade talks, Japan would be urged by other countries to open its market even more than in the Japan-EU EPA, leading to further opening of the market.

The Japan-EU EPA and other multilateral free trade agreements are designed to assist multinational corporations’ profit-seeking activities. These agreements will slash or eliminate tariffs, relax or abolish necessary regulations, and damage domestic agriculture, local industries, local economies, and consumer interests. They will lead to the hollowing out of industry and the widening of poverty and economic disparities.

The Abe government, which seeks to turn Japan into the most business-friendly nation in the world, designates the promotion of free trade agreements including EPAs and FTAs as a pillar of its economic growth strategy. In the 2018 basic plan for economic and fiscal policies which was adopted by the Abe Cabinet last month, the government says it will make efforts for the early signing and ratification of the Japan-EU EPA.

The need now is not a pro-business trade agreement but an international economic order which respects each nation’s economic and food sovereignty and is based on the principle of equality and reciprocity.

On the day of the signing, farmers and consumers staged a protest in front of the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo to oppose the Japan-EU EPA. This action was organized by a national network consisting of individuals and civic groups working to block the EPA as well as TPP.

Past related articles:
> Hokkaido JCP urges gov’t to cancel basic agreement of Japan-EU EPA [July 29, 2017]
> Farmers urge the gov’t not to reach basic agreement with EU on EPA [July 4, 2017]
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