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Japan lags behind on free trade, despite EU partnership

Trade covered by FTAs to exceed 30% for 1st time, but ratio remains low

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Agreement on the economic partnership between the European Union and Japan was reached at a summit in Brussels in early July.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The share of Japan's total trade which is covered by free trade pacts or economic partnership agreements will stand at a little more than 30% when its EPA signed with the European Union takes effect, according to data from the Japan External Trade Organization. Achieving the official target of 70% by 2018, however, looks distinctly unlikely.

According to an analysis of trade statistics conducted by Jetro, Japan's FTA coverage ratio stood at 22.5% last year. The EU-Japan EPA, which was broadly agreed in July, is expected to boost the ratio by 11.9 points to 34.4%. This will be the first time the ratio exceeds 30%, but the figure remains low by international standards.

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