Japan deal sends anti-protectionist signal before G20: German minister

An EU-Japan summit in Brussels on Thursday will formalize both a free-trade arrangement

An EU-Japan summit in Brussels on Thursday will formalize both a free-trade arrangement

European Union and Japanese leaders agreed on a free trade deal on Thursday (6 July) and emphasised the importance of shared values in a snub to United States president Donald Trump a day before the G20 summit in Germany.

It comes hard on the heels of the collapse of a long-awaited trade agreement between Japan, the US and other Pacific ring countries, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was scrapped in January by US President Donald Trump.

The meeting will be attended by Tusk, EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

According to EU sources, Japan agreed to set a low-tariff import quota for European cheese and eliminate its tariffs on some items, and the EU agreed to abolish its 10% tariff on Japanese cars seven years after the EPA takes effect.

In the negotiations, Japan and the EU have already reached a basic agreement to work toward the elimination of the EU's tariffs on Japanese-made electronic devices such as home electronics and automobile parts, as well as Japan's tariffs on European-made clothes and wine produced in Europe. Import duties on Japanese cars now stand at 10 percent, but the new trade agreement will see these barriers removed.

The deal will affect a majority of the commerce between the two economic giants.

A landmark trade deal with Canada almost came unstuck past year when Wallonia, a region of Belgium, withheld its approval until its concerns were dealt with by the country's political leaders.

The deal is said to recognise the "special status" of European agricultural products - including Irish whiskey - while the export process for motor vehicles will be "significantly simplified". "I don't think that Britain will be in the European Union by the time this new agreement will come into effect, so I think Britain will need to negotiate a new agreement, on new terms with the Japanese government", Mr. Koutsomitis told Sputnik.

"The Socialists and Democrats will never accept the inclusion of an old-fashioned private Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement mechanism".

The leaders hailed the agreement as evidence that free and fair trade can go hand-in-hand, and that protectionism has no winners.

Both sides will continue talks into the autumn and aim to produce a legal text by year-end.

"It has achieved huge progress in terms of global competitiveness towards most of our competitors around the globe, thanks to the overall trade strategy of the EU Commission to open more markets for dairy products".

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