Europe’s frustration is mounting over its slow, difficult trade negotiations with Japan. The 15th round of talks is coming in February next year, and Europe is hungry for signs that it is worth carrying on.
In October, Japan joined the US and 10 other nations in sealing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which covers 40 per cent of the global economy. But there is little sign of that momentum carrying over into a quick deal with Europe.
Mauro Petriccione, Brussels’ chief negotiator with Japan, warned on Thursday that enthusiasm for an accord with the world’s third biggest economy could wane if the deal is not finalised next year.
“If we don’t make it in 2016, we’ll have to explain why, and we cannot exclude a resurgence of the scepticism towards the possibility of a new Japan-EU [free trade agreement] that we had before we started,” he told reporters. “It took us a long time to persuade sceptics that it was worth trying this. If they see that we don’t succeed in 2016, they will start asking themselves questions again.” Read more