What do the Singaporeans think of the Japanese

globalizationEU relies on free trade with Japan and Singapore

When EU Vice Commission President Jirki Katainen announced earlier this morning that two new EU trade agreements were ready to be signed, the satisfaction with what had been achieved was palpable:

"Good morning, it's a good morning."

Trade agreement with Japan is the largest so far

It is a good morning because the negotiations with Japan and Singapore have been concluded. The trade deal with Japan is the largest in terms of volume that the EU has ever negotiated. One billion euros in import duties on EU goods, which are currently still being levied in Japan, would be canceled by the agreement. European companies would also benefit from the harmonization of numerous standards; costs and bureaucracy for double product approvals, for example, would be eliminated. The Japanese market with 120 million consumers will be opened to agricultural imports and more than 200 European products with regional designations of origin will in future also be protected in Japan.

Trade agreement with Singapore strategically important

The scope of the free trade agreement with Singapore is of course smaller, but it is of great strategic importance, said Katainen. Singapore is the most important trading partner within the ASEAN group, more than 10,000 European companies are present there. The EU has also negotiated an investment protection agreement with the city-state that meets the same standards as the one with Canada. So a multi-tier court system with independent judges appointed by both sides.

Counter-model to US trade policy

The two trade agreements now have to be approved by the Council and the EU Parliament, and the investment protection agreement has to be ratified by all EU member states. Everything should be wrapped up by the end of 2019.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström indicated that the real value of the contracts that have now been drawn up lies elsewhere. In the opinion of the EU Commission, they form the counter-model to the trade policy pursued by US President Donald Trump:

"Both countries, Singapore and Japan, are friends, partners and allies when it comes to shaping globalization and advocating open, rule-based trade within the framework of an open global trading system."

No progress in the trade dispute with the US

As for the trade dispute with the US, the EU Commissioner was unable to report any progress. The deadline given by Donald Trump to the EU runs until the end of the month. Until then, steel and aluminum exports from EU countries will remain exempt from US punitive tariffs. Currently, according to Cecila Malmström, there are not even talks with Washington:

"We are not going to offer them anything to get exemptions from punitive tariffs that contradict WTO rules. We simply demand to be permanently exempted from these tariffs without conditions. If that condition is met, we are ready to talk about anything. But we don't negotiate while there are threats. "

Sounds like a massive trade dispute with the US has not become any less likely in the past few weeks.