Japan and the EU Show That Free Trade Will Not Wait for Trump

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In keeping with his America First agenda, President Donald Trump is pushing ahead with the promised new direction in U.S. trade and international economic policy. On July 17, the Trump Administration released a 17-page guideline outlining its ambitious goals for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), top officials are currently working on a plan to recalibrate U.S. trade policy towards China within weeks, and British International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is in Washington for preliminary talks on a UK-U.S. bilateral free trade agreement.

However, as Trump and his team sketch out their image of a more nationalist policy – which prefers bilateral trade deals over multilateral cooperation – many countries are continuing to push ahead on the type of mega free trade agreements that the administration has thus far rejected. The agreement in principle on the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (JEEPA) has become one of the most important symbols of this international resolve to continue pursuing trade liberalization with or without the United States.

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