It might be one of those stories that passed you by when we ran it last week – but the effects on the prices we pay for Japanese goods, including motorcycles, could be massive and felt for years to come.

It’s the world’s largest bilateral free trade deal which has been announced by both the EU and Japan. Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister and EU leaders Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk (above) have put the agreement together in response to Donald Trump’s announcement of supposed solidarity with Vladimir Putin at the start of the week.

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Phew, so there’s  quite a bit of tit-for-tat going on here – but in essence it means that once the deal has been ratified by both sides through their legal process, the Japan/EU trade deal will see 99% of tariffs on Japanese goods wiped out. It could take eight years for this to become a reality as far as cars (and motorcycles go) though due to financial markets settling to absorb costs and it could mean that motorcycle prices will fall by as much as 8 percent. Will we in the UK see the benefits of this, once Brexit has been finally wedged through the constitutional process? Possibly, if this can be added into the no deal/some deal machinations.

Tusk said: “Politically, it’s a light in the increasing darkness of international politics. We are sending a clear message that you can count on us. We are predictable – both Japan and [the] EU – predictable and responsible and will come to the defence of a world order based on rules, freedom and transparency and common sense. And this political dimension is even more visible today, tomorrow, than two months ago and I am absolutely sure you know what I mean.”

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He continued: “Let me say that today is a good day not only for all the Japanese and Europeans but for all reasonable people of this world who believe in mutual respect and cooperation.

“We are putting in place the largest bilateral trade deal ever. This is an act of enormous strategic importance for the rules-based international order, at a time when some are questioning this order.”

Tony Carter

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