Following the US withdrawal from the TPP, Japan also stepped up its efforts to conclude the Japan-Eu Economic Partnership Agreement(EU). On July 17, 2018, Japan and the EU signed JEEPA, which came into force on February 1, 2019. JEEPA is expected to increase Japan`s real GDP by around 0.99% and facilitate greater cooperation between Japan and the EU. Japan is also participating in the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations, launched on 20 November 2012 between Japan, China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, India and ASEAN countries. Although their obligations and liberalisation rules are less ambitious than those of the TPP or JEEPA, the RCEP, if completed, would cover about half of the world`s population and about 30% of world trade. However, the future of the RCEP became precarious after India announced its intention to withdraw from the agreement after a meeting in November 2019. Total trade in services between the EU and Japan accounts for about 35% of total trade in goods between the EU and Japan. At the same time, EU services exports to Japan account for about 50% of EU merchandise exports to Japan. In Japan, it can be difficult for European companies to do business or invest because of the specifics of Japanese society and the Japanese economy.
Another change in Japan`s trade policy is the growing importance of national security considerations. For example, the potential risk of additional tariffs on motor vehicles and auto parts for national security purposes, as predicted in point 232, overshadows bilateral TPP negotiations with the United States. The issue of national security is also controversial in japan-South Korea trade relations. On July 4, 2019, Japan strengthened its licensing policies and procedures for the export of certain controlled products and their technologies destined for Korea. According to the Japanese government, measures taken for national security reasons, in accordance with the national security exception under ARTICLE XXI of the GATT, may be justified by the fact that “the relationship of trust between Japan and Korea (ROK) has also been significantly compromised in the area of export control and regulation” and that the government “recently found that certain sensitive objects have been exported to ROC under the under-management of companies.” However, South Korea has requested consultations with Japan under the WTO dispute settlement mechanism, saying that Japan`s actions are contrary to WTO agreements and are not justified by GATT Article XXI. The two countries held consultations but were unable to find a satisfactory solution for both sides. At this time, it is not clear that they will be able to reach a satisfactory solution for both parties through consultations.