This paper concerns Europe’s ability to continue its trade strategy into large scale FTAs that are necessary to sustain EU industrial capacities. The first challenge for Europe is the EU- Japan FTA, whose merits have been met with scepticism due to Japan’s lack of openness. Such notions are misguided. First, they fail to take into account that the US exports are outperforming the EU on the Japanese market – it is simply unlikely that Japanese trade barriers are designed to promote US and Chinese firms while discriminating against the EU. Second, as Japan is likely to conclude (and perhaps prioritise) other trade agreements besides an FTA with a declining Europe, the EU-Japan FTA is necessary to maintain European market shares in the world’s second largest consumer market against the global competition.