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Europe and its Neighbours

Policy briefs

Europe and Japan should look to each other amid uncertainty

06 Jun 2017 - 12:30
Source: European Union/flickr

In this policy brief Maaike Okano-Heijmans analyses why and how Europe and Japan should coordinate their policies to maintain and – ideally – deepen the liberal, rules-based international system of global economic governance.

The world of global economic governance needs EU–Japan leadership. To many in Europe and Japan, Trump’s protectionist language has made the US a challenger of, rather than an ally in, protecting the rules-based economic system and the liberal values it embodies. Beijing’s proposition to fill the void seems ironic given China’s lack of real progress to market-opening and reform.

Europe and Japan thus need each other now more than ever. The conclusion of the EU-Japan trade and political agreements would constitute an important acknowledgement of the growing importance of relations between the two sides. But more formal and informal cooperation is needed to improve mutual understanding of differences in tactics, perceptions and political priorities to dealing with Beijing and Washington.