The biggest ever deal of its kind, “JEEPA” reveals the hollowness of Brexiteer claims that leaving the EU will give us a trade boost. And businesses across the Atlantic will be looking on with concern, tooby George Magnus / July 11, 2017 / Leave a comment
The announcement of “JEEPA,” or the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Association, just before the Hamburg G20 meeting, was a masterpiece in timing, a great piece of political symbolism, and a demonstration that the economic advantages of big free trade, liberal, rules-based agreements are still worth striving for. For the United States, which withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal almost as soon as President Trump took office, JEEPA is a kick in the teeth. JEEPA also makes the case for Brexit—including claims that leaving the EU is essential if we are to strike up better trade agreements—look small and deluded.
We should note that the agreement is not done and dusted. It has to be signed, ratified by both sides, and there are as yet unconcluded negotiations on dispute settlement procedures and data protection issues, but this agreement is potentially a big deal.
JEEPA is the biggest ever free trade agreement, with Japan and the EU together accounting for about a third of the world economy. Japan is the EU’s sixth largest trade partner, and the EU is Japan’s third biggest. Negotiations started four years ago, and but for the Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump, might still be on-going. These two events doubtless accelerated the process and the Hamburg G20 provided an appropriate backdrop for both the EU and Japan to hail their agreement. Trade experts have estimated that it could end up boosting two-way exports by roughly 30 per cent.