EU governments approve free trade deal with Japan
European member states have given the go-ahead for a free trade deal with Japan, the world's third-largest economy. Brussels said the agreement was sending "a very powerful signal against protectionism."
EU governments on Friday threw their weight behind a free trade deal with Japan, paving the way for the agreement to be signed next week at a bilateral summit in Brussels.
The deal will be the biggest free trade accord ever signed by the European Union. The agreement will unite around 600 million people, representing about one-third of global trade.
EU officials said the accord would lead to the removal of all but a handful of tariffs between the two sides and aimed to boost economic growth and job creation.
Responding to earlier criticism from consumer protection groups, Brussels insisted the deal would not result in the deregulation and privatization of public services such as water management and waste water treatment.
Bucking the trend?
The deal, which comes at a time when US President Donald Trump is spearheading an "America first" agenda, "sends a very powerful signal against protectionism and for the rules-based international order," an EU official told the DPA news agency on condition of anonymity.
The US has imposed higher tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Washington is now mulling a similar move for the automotive sector, with the EU and Japan to suffer considerably from higher duties on cars.
EU member states also approved the signature of a strategic partnership agreement with Japan to boost cooperation in a range of areas including security, defense against cybercrime, energy and climate change mitigation.
Your browser doesn't support HTML5 video
hg/jd (dpa, Reuters)
Japan and EU reach free trade deal
Tokyo and Brussels have agreed a free trade accord, opening up the EU to Japanese cars and Japan to European cheese. Japan's economy meanwhile has recorderd its longest uninterrupted growth since 1994. (08.12.2017)
EU, Japan, other US allies ask for tariff exceptions
Countries across the world have urged Washington to exempt them from the steep tariffs on steel and aluminum, with the EU warning it would retaliate if hit. Chinese steelmakers urged Beijing to target US coal. (09.03.2018)
US tariffs plan for car imports rankles EU, Japan, China
The EU, China and Japan have decried the Trump administration's idea to also heap US tariffs on imported vehicles - on top of steel and aluminum. Washington's "national security" argument is "far-fetched," says Brussels. (24.05.2018)