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7th February 2019
EU-Japan Partnership (EPA)
The EU-Japan Partnership Agreement (EPA) was finalised on the 1st of February 2019 after a drastic operation by the EU to establish as many Free Trade Agreements (FTA's) as possible around the world - before the UK got a chance to get in there with better deals. The UK already trades with Japan and we have trade surplus with them - actually a trade deficit in terms of goods (£-3.5bn), but a surplus because of services (£+4.5bn)
The Japanese have been having a torrid time of it in the UK and Europe because of the decline in the appeal of fossil fuel derivative - petrol and diesel engine vehicles - mostly brought about through EU meddling and incompetence (actually negligence and German vested interest; as much as anything else - see Diesel Scandal EU Meddling)- this plus declining sales in China have weighed heavily on their investment plans.
The EU Referendum result must have created panic; not just in the EU, but also in Japan and UK HMG (plus some other inward investors, of course - who, let's face it - are only in the UK because we subsidise them and for access into the EU - and would be off in-a-flash into the EU at the drop-of-a-hat; or one of the ubiquitous EU bribes (JLR) - paid for out of UK subscriptions - to take business away from the UK.
The EU taking business away from the UK is nothing new - it began with the "theft" of UK fishing grounds - with the acquiescence of the Heath government (with Labour support) - when we first entered the EEC through ratification of the ECA(1972); which signed us up to the Treaty of Rome (1957)
As our trade deficit with the EU has grown we have spiraled into a crisis of selling off our businesses to pay for the privilege - and causing the UK to get poorer and poorer, as we support the EU's profligacy and ambitions of Empire and support its poor Member State populations at the expense our UK infrastructure and public services .
That is not to discount the fact that, certainly our heavy industry, we weren't able to compete with world market prices.
None of this could have happened without our EUphile Civil Servants and nefarious politicians; too lazy to run the UK for the benefit of the the population of the UK - notably Blair and his clone Cameron aided and abetted by Major, Brown and now May ( and a succession of other UK Prime Ministers since 1973 (with the notable exception of Margaret Thatcher; who succinctly described the EEC in her prophetic 1988 Bruges Speech), who have sought only to enrich the EU at the expense of the UK and make a pretty penny on the side - courtesy of their undeserved elevated status.
The EU-Japan Partnership Agreement
The EU-Japan Partnership Agreement(EPA) came into force on the 1st of February 2019 - with talks initiated in 2013 - and Nissan subsequently announced that the production of the X-Trail would continue in Japan, not in the UK . The problem is that the Nissan has not been too successful in penetrating the EU market, and petrol and diesel sales are slack in the EU - so they still have a potential "hill-to-climb" in the present environmental (pollution) and regulatory climate in the EU (and UK) etc.
The EPA is a unique treaty from the perspective of the EU, despite the current claims that the EU is promoting Free-Trade throughout the world - they are, in fact simply building larger and larger protectionist areas (on the top of WTO base agreements) - within which a free-trade area exists - but outside of that - tariff barriers (TB's) and non-tariff barriers (NTB's) to trade still persist.
The EPA is also unique in one other way - it is clear that the EU has learned from its experience of CETA; where the Walloon Parliament stopped the ratification of CETA "deal" dead - at least for a period of time and Romania and Bulgaria attempted to obtain freedom of movement into Canada - as the price for their ratification.
As a result of those difficulties (tying up time to resolve local issues) the EPA is an "EU only Treaty" which requires ratification by the EU Council and the EU Commission - but not the individual Member States. That is not to say that they were not consulted - they gave their priorities prior to the negotiations and the EU effectively carried out their instructions - BUT critically they could not block the EPA. This potentially shortened the time to obtain the EPA compared to other treaties - that took inordinate amounts of time to complete - but not by a huge amount (~5 years (EPA) as opposed to ~7 years CETA))
What's Not to Like
Just like CETA, the EPA has no Customs Union or Single Market requirement - there is no freedom of movement of people, it includes services - and it is also built on existing WTO rules. Obviously there would not be any compliance issues - we in the UK have all the required legislation (and ~120,000 regulations) already in place. The Northern Ireland "backstop" has been proven to be little more than an EU attempt to use the EU Referendum as a way of Annexing Northern Ireland - the EU have stated that in the event of the WTO option being activated (("No Deal") they would not install a hard border, nor would the UK and nor would Eire - equally there would be a Free-Trade Partnership with the EU in place which could replace our existing arrangements - which could be agreed before the 29th March 2019.
What CETA and EPA actually represent are means by which the EU and UK could form a Free-Trade agreement with minimum fuss and bother - and exposes the fact that the real problem that has to be overcome is purely a matter of Political Union - which is the very problem that led to the EU Referendum in the first place.
A UK-EU "fudge treaty" will not be accepted by the majority of the UK population (the genie is now out of the bottle - and why Merkel and Macron are rearming Germany and France) - the EU will never be trusted again and the EU might think that if they trap the UK population in the EU by sleight-of-hand after they voted to leave it, that they will have solved the problem; but, in fact the EU will have to occupy the UK militarily to maintain the UK in its Political Union against the will of its people - because they will never surrender their sovereignty to the EU.
For a summary of the EU-Japan Partnership see below