On February 1, 2019, the European Union and Japan signed the Economic Partnership Agreement, the largest free trade agreement ever signed by the EU. This agreement provides for the mutual opening of markets and the elimination of most tariffs on goods and services traded between the two regions. However, this agreement also includes a lesser-known provision on infrastructure, which could have far-reaching consequences for both the EU and Japan.
The infrastructure agreement between the EU and Japan aims to promote cooperation and investment in infrastructure projects in third countries, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region. This region, which includes countries such as India, Indonesia, and Australia, is expected to experience significant economic growth in the coming years, and both the EU and Japan see it as an important strategic area for investment.
Under the agreement, the EU and Japan will work together to identify and prioritize infrastructure projects in the region, and to provide financial and technical support for these projects. This could include funding for major infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, and ports, as well as investment in renewable energy and digital infrastructure.
The infrastructure agreement is seen as a win-win for both the EU and Japan. For the EU, it provides an opportunity to expand its influence in the Indo-Pacific region and to promote its vision of sustainable development. For Japan, it allows the country to diversify its investments and to increase its presence in a strategically important region.
However, the infrastructure agreement is not without its challenges. The Indo-Pacific region is vast and diverse, and identifying viable infrastructure projects in this region will require significant coordination and investment. In addition, the EU and Japan will need to work closely with other countries and international organizations to ensure that their investments are complementary and not duplicative.
Despite these challenges, the infrastructure agreement between the EU and Japan is an important step forward in promoting cooperation and investment in infrastructure projects in the Indo-Pacific region. With both regions committing to work together and invest in the region, the potential for economic growth and development is significant.