EU referendum special: EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement

eu-japanYou’re probably wondering why I’m blogging about the EU on a Japan blog, but bare with me! Those of you living in the UK will hopefuly have noticed that the country is having a referendum on its membership of the European Union on 23rd June. To be honest, the main reason I’m writing this blog is to urge you to sign up to vote here if you haven’t already. The deadline for registering is 7th June and it takes just three minutes, so there’s no excuse not to.

If you’re a student or recently moved, it’s worth checking you’re still registered to vote because a lot of people have fallen off the electoral register in the last year.

I’m not going to tell you how to vote but the result of this referendum will have a big impact on the UK’s future and the people who live here. Plus, young people are statistically a lot less likely to vote, and I imagine a fair few of you are online – so get on it! A tweet or facebook post does NOT count as a vote.

So, here are some quick facts about Japan’s trade with the EU!

  • Negotiations for an EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement (which will mean the elimination of the vast majority of trade tariffs and boost imports and exports in key areas such as agriculture, car manufacturing and clothing) launched in 2013. The 16th round of negotiations took place in Tokyo in April 2016 (that’s a lot of negotiating!)
  • At last week’s G7 summit in Ise-Shima in Japan, an accelerated timeline was agreed so political agreement to the free trade deal can be reached as early as 2016.
  • Japan is the EU’s second biggest trading partner in Asia after China.
  • Japan’s main exports to the EU are machinery, electrical machinery, motor vehicles, optical and medical instruments, and chemicals.
  • The EU’s main exports to Japan are motor vehicles, machinery, pharmaceuticals, optical and medical instruments, and electrical machinery.

Despite this being a pretty short blog post, I want to take this opportunity to remind my UK readers to register to vote if they haven’t already! We’ve less than a month to go with the referendum, but there’s still time to read up and decide which way you want to vote.

In the interests of political fairness, you can read the official ‘Remain’ campaign’s arguments here and the official ‘Leave’ ones here. Of course, it’s worth reading around more widely as well!


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