On 6 July 2017 the EU and Japan announced an agreement in principle on their Economic Partnership Agreement (“EPA“). The scale of this agreement is eye-popping: once in effect the EPA will cover nearly 40 percent of all goods exports, 10 percent of the Earth’s population, and about 30 percent of global GDP. The breadth of goods covered by the EPA will be similarly substantial and includes agricultural and food products, the forestry sector, industrial products, the automotive sector, electronics, and services. While some tariffs, such as those on wine, will disappear from the moment the EPA enters into force, other tariffs – including those on imports of Japanese automobiles to Europe and imports of European chocolates to Japan – will disappear over a number of years. The net effect will be to remove tariffs from 99 per cent of all goods traded between the EU and Japan with one study suggesting consequent increases in EU exports to Japan of 34% and Japanese exports to the EU of 29%. Continue reading
The last few weeks have seen anti-Japanese protests in almost a dozen Chinese cities. Demonstrators took to the streets apparently in response to the latest developments in a long-standing dispute between China and Japan concerning a group of islands in the East China Sea called Senkaku in Japan, Diaoyu in the People’s Republic of China (China) and Diaoyutai in the Republic of China (also known as Taiwan) that each of these countries claim as their own. The archipelago, which consists of five uninhabited islands and three rocks situated approximately 120 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan and 240 nautical miles southwest of Okinawa, has been administered by Japan since its return from US trustee administration in 1972 despite claims to its territory by both Beijing and Taipei.
Tensions increased when on 15 August 2012, Chinese activists sailing from Hong Kong landed on one of the islands and raised flags of both China and Taiwan, before being detained and deported back to Hong Kong. A few days later, about 150 Japanese activists sailed to the islands to support their country’s claim to the territory, sparking the weekend’s protests in China.
A bilateral investment agreement or treaty (BIT) between Japan and Iraq was signed on 7th June 2012. This is the first BIT between Iraq and a major economy and is a significant and credible commitment by Iraq to the rights of foreign investors falling within the BIT’s protections. The BIT will enter into force 30 days after diplomatic notes are exchanged between the two governments confirming necessary national legal steps have taken place.