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.

Representatives from the landmark Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP, or TPP-11) trade bloc took steps to develop and expand market access at a meeting this Saturday in Tokyo, reaffirming their commitment to free trade and inviting other countries to join.

The CPTPP, which was rejected by President Donald Trump upon taking office in 2017, came into effect last year after it was ratified by Australia. At the moment, 7 of 11 members have already ratified the agreement, and it is expected that the remaining countries will soon follow suit.