Japan and the European Union (EU) began a new phase in their trade relations on Friday when the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) entered into force, becoming the largest trade deal in the world. The agreement, predicated on tariff elimination, offers a clear message against the rising trend of protectionism that is gaining ground in other areas of the world.

The EPA, finalized by the two parties in December of 2017, covers the largest commercial area in the world, accounting for 36.9% of global trade and 27.8% of the world’s gross domestic product.