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Between 2009 and 2019, the EU`s trade deficit with Japan increased from 18 billion euros in 2009 to 2 billion euros in 2019. A free trade agreement with both would be a very difficult task, given issues such as the management of agricultural, forestry and maritime products. A free trade agreement between Japan and the United States would have a significant trade transformation effect. At present, it will be beneficial to strengthen bilateral relations by setting framework conditions in certain areas (such as mutual recognition) and by encouraging dialogue in areas such as regulatory reform. (2) Japan`s free trade agreement strategy – the specific points to be considered by Japan`s major trading partners are East Asia, North America and Europe, three regions accounting for 80% of Japan`s trade. Compared to free trade agreements with the countries of North America and Europe, all of which are industrialized countries, free trade agreements with East Asia will bring the greatest additional benefits through further liberalization. As can be seen from the simple averages of tariff rates (United States, 3.6%; European Union, 4.1%; China, 10%; Malaysia, 14.5%; Republic of Korea, 16.1%; Philippines 25.6%; and Indonesia, 37.5%, East Asia, the region where Japanese products accounted for the highest share of trade, has the highest tariffs. Trade liberalization with East Asia will help facilitate the activities of Japanese companies that face competition from ASEAN and China and, in many cases, have relocated their production sites to sites in East Asia. In the services sector with Japan, the EU recorded a surplus of 13 billion euros in 2018. Traditional trade relations between the EU and Japan were once characterized by large trade surpluses in favour of Japan. While our ultimate goal is to strengthen an economic partnership with ASEAN as a whole, we should first make rapid efforts to establish bilateral economic partnerships individually on the basis of the Japan-Singapore Economic Partnership Agreement with key ASEAN member states (including Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia) , who have shown positive interest in a bilateral free trade agreement with Japan. Given the progress of bilateral agreements, we should begin a process of extending these agreements to the agreement between Japan and ASEAN as a whole. (2) The political and diplomatic benefits of trade agreements strengthen Japan`s negotiating power in WTO negotiations and the outcome of free trade negotiations could influence and accelerate WTO negotiations.

Deepening economic interdependence leads to a sense of political trust between the countries that are parties to these agreements and expands Japan`s global diplomatic influence and interests. Six important agreements have been concluded between the EU and Japan to date. Other objectives include other objectives that are slipping into Japan`s bilateral trade agenda: in early 2005, Japan began exploring possible discussions with Switzerland and negotiations began in 2007.