EU and Japan to sign massive trade deal

The European Union and Japan will sign one of the world's biggest free trade deals later on Tuesday.

The move will create an open trade zone covering nearly a third of the world's GDP and 600 million people.

One of the biggest EU exports to Japan is dairy goods, while cars are one of Japan's biggest exports.

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

The US was in talks with Japan and other Asian countries 18 months ago about a wide-ranging free-trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific trade agreement, but Donald Trump withdrew from this in one of his first moves after becoming president.

Since then, his "America First" policy has seen tariffs introduced on a range of items, including steel, which both Japan and the EU export to the US.

- Political will -

Firms in the EU, the world's biggest free-trade zone, currently export more than $100bn (£75bn) in goods and services to Japan, the world's third-biggest economy, every year.

The EU's top officials will be in Japan for the signing ceremony, including the EU Council's President, Donald Tusk, and the European Commission's head, Jean-Claude Juncker.

Speaking in China on Monday, Mr Tusk said: "It is the common duty of Europe and China, but also America and Russia, not to destroy [the global trade order] but to improve it, not to start trade wars which turned into hot conflicts so often in our history.

"There is still time to prevent conflict and chaos."

Japan's Minister for Economic Revitalisation, Toshimitsu Motegi, said on Tuesday: "At a time when protectionist measures are gaining steam globally, the signing of the Japan-EU deal today will show the world once again our unwavering political will to promote free trade."




BBC

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