Japan, EU ink free trade deal amid worries about U.S. protectionism

How to negotiate a trade deal

How to negotiate a trade deal

The Japan-EU statement is meant to confirm their stance of warning against such hardline policies of the Trump administration and mutually cooperating to firmly maintain the free trade regime.

By strengthening ties with the EU, Japan hopes to vitalise mutual direct investment, fight other global trends toward protectionism and enhance the stature of Japanese brands, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Overall, European farmers will benefit, Juncker said, though European consumers will be able to more easily buy luscious Kobe beef and famous Yubari melons. Japan will no more levy duties on European cheese and wines.

"While protectionism is spreading in the world, Japan and the European Union will take the lead as flag bearers for free trade", Abe said.

It will cover a third of the global economy and 600 million people, after it is ratified by the European Parliament.

Shinzo Abe had been scheduled to sign the deal in Brussels last week, but cancelled his trip after devastating floods that killed more than 220 people.

We are sending a clear message that we stand against protectionism.

Under the trade agreement, the European Union will open its market to Japan's vehicle industry, with Tokyo in return scrapping barriers to European Union farming products, especially dairy.

Japan and the European Union became the targets of recent USA import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum products.

Japan and the European Union signed a new free trade deal on Tuesday
Japan and the European Union signed a new free trade deal on Tuesday

"We are showing that we are stronger and better off when we work together".

The move is in sharp contrast to the stance taken by the Trump administration in the USA, which has introduced steep import tariffs.

The Japan-EU trade deal is also a sign of shifting global ties as Trump distances the USA from long-time allies like the EU, NATO and Canada.

The major step toward liberalizing trade was discussed in talks since 2013 but is striking in the timing of the signing, as China and the US are embroiled in trade conflicts.

The deal comes following the launch of export tariffs against U.S. trading partners by President Donald Trump earlier this year.

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

However, The Independent says "experts have previously suggested the United Kingdom would struggle to better the terms of the EU-Japan deal in any negotiations on its own". The European bloc is also pursuing deals with Mexico, Australia, and Mercosur, the South American trading bloc that includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Japanese will get cheaper wine, pork and cheese, such as Parmesan, Gouda and cheddar, as well as chocolate and biscuits.

Japan praised the deal with the European Union as coming from Mr Abe's "Abenomics" policies, created to wrest the economy out of stagnation despite a shrinking population and cautious spending. Japan's growth continues to be heavily dependent on exports. The White House has imposed tariffs on EU steel and aluminum imports and has threatened to target European cars next.

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