International trade remains a contentious issue as July approaches its end, with the U.S., China, Canada, Mexico and the entire European Union throwing tariffs back and forth at one another.
With the aim of circumventing some of the fallout from these disputes, the EU and Japan formally came to a bilateral free trade agreement on July 18, one eliminating all existing tariffs on any goods traded between Japan and all countries of the eurozone, according to The Diplomat. The countries covered within the economic treaty represent about 25 percent of the global economy.
The news provider noted that the deal's framework predates the first tariffs in the 2018 trade war - those that U.S. President Donald Trump imposed on steel and aluminum imports - having been initially brainstormed in December 2017. Additionally, neither Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, European Council President Donald Tusk or European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker referenced the American tariffs in public statements surrounding the signing.
It's clear that leading nations of the world aren't afraid of reducing their dependence on U.S. exports as much as they can. The New York Times pointed out that while America is still the EU's biggest trade partner - a fact unlikely to change anytime soon - the bloc of nations has other, similar agreements in place or is progressing toward completing them. Countries engaged in such negotiations with EU leaders include Mexico, Canada, Vietnam and Singapore.