EU, Japan sign major free-trade deal


EU, Japan sign major free-trade deal

European Council president Donald Tusk has hit out at Brexit backers who claimed that the EU was unable to strike trade deals.

At the heart of the deal is an agreement for the European Union to open its market to the world-leading Japanese auto industry, with Tokyo in return scrapping barriers to European Union farming products, especially dairy. "There will be a special clause that will describe how the two parties will enforce the Paris Agreement, so the political signal from European countries is that they want to have open trade with big countries in the world, but on the other hand have fair trade as well", Mr. Koutsomitis said.

"We in the European Union firmly believe in the political objective of a world which is built on openness, cooperation and trade", Tusk told reporters in the Belgian capital during an EU-Japan summit.

"There's no protection in protectionism", he quipped.

"That the world really doesn't need to go a hundred years back in time".

Europe exports €58-billion worth ($66 billion) of goods to Japan.

"But the outcome is also extremely positive in relation to pigmeat, where Japan will significantly lower the tariffs applied through its import scheme over the period of the agreement, and for cheese and dairy products, where the agreement provides for the full liberalisation of tariffs on hard cheeses, including cheddar, over fifteen years".

Juncker said, for instance, that wine producers will save €134 million a year, and leather and shoe-manufacturers will be able to hold onto an extra €174 million annually, thanks to the deal.

The agreement in principle covers most aspects of the Economic Partnership Agreement.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday (28 June) called on Europe to immediately apply the CETA free trade agreement while the two sides work through a final hurdle pertaining to agricultural quotas.

Juncker said he made it clear that private tribunals have no place in deciding on matters of public interest.

Japan is seeking to set that volume limit at about 30,000 tons or less, but EU officials are calling for a higher volume, citing the expected demand among Japanese consumers for European cheese.

The Japanese side, however, has a different approach, which still tends towards the ISDS system.

"We confirmed the achievement of a broad accord", Kishida told reporters after the meeting. For the European Union, it shows that it remains a champion of free trade even if free trade negotiations with the United States are in a rut.

She added: "We have sufficient convergence so that our officials can discuss in the coming days to iron out the remaining details".

How long did it take and when does it start? Past year it accounted for about $134 billion.

Powerful agricultural cooperatives and high subsidies have long shielded Japan's farmers from global competition, but Prime Minister Shinzō Abe used the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations as an excuse to liberalize the sector.



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