European Union and Japan to sign historic trade deal

Lloyd Doyle
July 17, 2018

The "landmark" EU-Japan deal creates a massive economic zone and stands in stark contrast to US President Donald Trump's "America First" protectionism.

The ambitious trade pact, which creates the world's largest open economic area, comes amid fears that a trade war between the U.S. and China will diminish the role of free trade in the global economic order.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will visit President TrumpDonald John TrumpShocking summit with Putin caps off Trump's turbulent Europe trip GOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Trump stuns the world at Putin summit MORE at the White House next week, following the USA leader's blistering criticism of critical North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and the European Union during a week-long trip to Europe.

The deal signed in Tokyo by the EU's top officials and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe creates a free trade zone covering almost a third of the world's GDP. It covers a third of the global economy and markets of more than 600 million people. "What we're saying is that we believe in open, fair and rules-based trade".

At a EU-Japan summit Tuesday in Tokyo, the envoys were clear that the agreement was meant to send a message about the value of trade and cooperation.

The deals come as Trump pushes the world's largest economy into a more protectionist direction with various tariffs and trade restrictions. "Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news".

They will also sign an accompanying strategic partnership agreement. The EPA has raised Japan-EU relations to a new height, he said.

The EU said the trade liberalization will help raise European exports of chemicals, clothing, cosmetics and beer to Japan. Following the signing ceremony, they will seek parliamentary ratification.

The EU and Japan aim to have the agreement come into force before the United Kingdom leaves the EU next March.

However, Japan's dairy industry is expected to lose market share to European products once tariffs of up to 40 per cent on some cheese imports start coming down.

The deal eliminates about 99 per cent of the tariffs on Japanese goods sold to the EU. Japanese will get cheaper wine, pork and cheese, such as Parmesan, Gouda and cheddar, as well as chocolate and biscuits.

The deal signed in Tokyo is the largest ever negotiated by the European Union and creates a massive free trade zone, eliminating tariffs for everything from Japanese cars to French cheese.

The regional bloc will immediately eliminate tariffs on Japanese sake, green tea and soy sauce, while wine will also be reciprocally traded without tariffs right after the pact comes into force.

The EPA took over four years of negotiations in which both sides faced difficulties regarding procedures to settle investment disputes between companies and governments.

It was delayed from earlier this month because Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cancelled going to Brussels over a disaster in southwestern Japan, caused by extremely heavy rainfall.

"It's a light in the increasing darkness of global politics", Tusk said.

They also confirmed that the European Union will provide support for Japan in resolving the issue of Japanese nationals abducted decades ago by the North, which Abe has viewed as his government's most important agenda, he also said.

"Japan and the European Union remain united in our commitment to making the Iran nuclear deal work", Tusk said, referencing the 2015 agreement, from which Washington withdrew in May.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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