The EU and Japan Economic Partnership Agreement ( Trade Deal) came into force on 1 February 2019. A replacement UK Japan trade agreement won’t be completed till some time after brexit day, despite the UK government assurances that every trade deal would be replicated in time for the 30th March, which is the day after Brexit Day, so potentially any shipments leaving the UK via seafreight e.g. 20/02 could be subject to import duties in Japan.
Over the decades, Japanese business has invested heavily in UK industries, banks, services and in automotive production as a result of the UK strategic location or gateway into Europe. These companies include Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Sugatsune, but there are hundreds of other Japanese companies, who have become successful and have become valuable members of there local communities. Historically, EU firms were exporting over €58bn in goods and €28bn in services to Japan every year. Then EU Exporters faced difficult and lengthy trade barriers, which affected there competiveness.
The recent announcement in the automotive industry affecting Honda, Nissan and Ford have all hinted at the change in the UK trade relationship with the European Union and its this change which has forced these companies to look at alternative trading arrangements. (EU Japan Trade Deal February 2019)
The EU and Japan Economic partnership agreement enhances the benefits for Japanese trade with the EU. Vehicles, which are manufactured in Japan and then imported into the EU will eventually become duty free. Whereas, if the UK were to leave the European Union without a deal, any vehicles produced in the UK could be subject to WTO duty rates upon importation in the EU. The business model for Japanese companies in the UK and EU have changed, a complete role reversal in global trade operations.
Automotive demand is also changing as a result of new emissions regulations, which are being introduced around the world to combat climate change . These new EU Car Emission Regulations are designed to slow and hopefully eliminate the growth of greenhouse emissions including NOx (Nitrogen Oxides), which are being linked to various medical conditions including asthma which can have severe implications for those affected.
Electric vehicles are a solution and can solve this emissions problem for the whole world. But electric vehicles technology is still developing, the batteries, which power them also need to be charged and where does this energy come from. The range of an electric vehicle still can’t match that of a conventional diesel vehicle. But conventional petrol and diesel technologies are also still developing, thou their core technologies has been around for over a hundred years, whereas electric vehicles have some catching up to do. Its hoped that electric vehicles range will one day exceed that of conventional petrol and diesel range. To make electric vehicles really competitive, they need infrastructure, charging stations to be built around the world. But where does the electricity come from to charge these vehicles.
Gas and Coal power stations are not the answer as they pump out greenhouse gas emissions, which increases climate change. Nuclear power isn’t very popular in many countries around the world and the radioactive waste disposal is a multi-generational problem which no-one really wants. Fusion Power is a possibility, but that’s still be developed and is decades away from a practical system being deployed.
Green electricity systems including wind and photo voltaic systems (PV) are already established and are already supporting national power grids around the worlds, but these systems needs to be expanded and there energy conversion increased. Overnight electricity storage systems (home storage batteries ) from eg Tesla and Moixa need to be installed in every home around the world to store this electricity. Building standards need to be drastically improved, so that homes can run on very little energy and be really energy efficient. Consumer’s appliances are becoming more energy efficient and will continue to do so.
Being closely tied with Europe will actually help the UK achieve this as everyone will be using the same standards especially in electric vehicles as everyone needs to work together and go in the same direction.
On the 2nd of March, the Swindon Advertiser printed an article stating that Honda originally had plans to build electric vehicles in Swindon and a shipment of robotic equipment which was enroute to the UK was turned back you can read more about this story here. This news itself, is very disappointing as the UK needs to drastically expand electric car production and these vehicles need to be affordable for everyone.
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