July 23, 2018 – The European Union and Japan signed a new free trade agreement earlier last week, the latest in a series of moves to further liberalize world trade. The deal has been characterized as a rebuke to the US’s policy trade protectionism, exemplified by a raft of new tariffs on imports. The latest deal, dubbed the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), will lower most tariffs, including Japanese duties on EU agricultural products and EU tariffs on Japanese cars. The European Commission says the deal will eliminate $1.2 billion worth of tariffs for EU exporters and double that amount for their Japanese counterparts. The EPA creates a free-trade zone for countries comprising 30 percent of global GDP, and is the latest in a series of trade agreements initiated or concluded by countries around the world. Although this agreement does not directly affect Canada, it is nonetheless good news as Canada’s own FTA with the EU is still at risk of being cancelled due to some opposition by certain EU members. It is hoped that the Canada European Union FTA will move from being provisional to permanent in the near future.