The World’s Largest Trade Deal and Google’s Largest Fine

Two pieces of trade news show who Germany’s real friends are.

Two big pieces of news from Germany this week reveal a lot about who Germany and Europe consider a friend, and who they are against.

First, on Tuesday the European Union signed a deal with Japan to create the world’s largest economic area. It covers a third of the global economy and 600 million people. The deal with Japan is the largest bilateral trade deal ever.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe said, “I want Japan and the EU to lead the world by bearing the flag of free trade.”

The second event came the next day when the EU slapped a record $5 billion fine on Google.

The EU’s justification for the fine was tenuous. Google gives away the Android operating system to phone manufacturers free, which has led to the wide availability of cheaper smart phones and tablets. According to the EU, this is a bad thing. The EU complains that Google has put conditions on its free software and that this is illegal.

This isn’t the first time the EU has lashed out at a United States tech company. In recent years it has hit Apple, Microsoft and Facebook with massive fines. It is currently investigating Amazon.

There’s a lot of hypocrisy here. If you’re Gazprom, the Russian gas company, Brussels will bend the rules to let you do what you want. But if you’re an American tech company, Brussels will bend the rules in order to prosecute you.

The Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has called the EU’s antitrust division “the shock troops of the EU power structure.” They can send in swat teams on predawn raids without a search warrant.

“The U.S. Justice Department could never dream of acting in such a fashion,” wrote Evans-Pritchard. He said that the EU antitrust division “acts as judge, jury and executioner, and can in effect impose fines large enough to constitute criminal sanctions but without the due process protection of criminal law.”

These two stories spotlight some major end-time prophecies. The Trumpet often points to an end-time prophecy in Isaiah 23 of a “mart of nations.” Isaiah 23 discusses merchants and overseas trade, referring to a trade agreement. This “mart of nations” trade bloc will mainly be comprised of European and Asian nations. The chapter talks about Tyre, a biblical symbol for modern Europe’s economic power—and it talks about Tarshish, referring in Bible prophecy to Japan. These two form a key part of the mart of nations, and today we see them building the world’s biggest economic area.

In addition to Isaiah 23, other biblical prophecies describe America being shut out of world trade and its interests being attacked. And we see Europe attacking U.S. businesses repeatedly.

These two developments in Europe this week show that Isaiah 23 is on its way to being fulfilled. You can read more about this in our article “Trade Wars Have Begun” from the April 2017 Trumpet issue.