EU and Japanese leaders signed a landmark free trade agreement Tuesday, removing nearly all tariffs paid by EU companies exporting to Japan and sending a clear message against protectionism.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and EU leaders Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker also signed an EU-Japan strategic partnership agreement to boost cooperation between both sides on issues such as security and defence, energy and climate and people-to-people exchanges.
“We are putting in place the largest bilateral trade deal ever,” said EU Council president Donald Tusk: “This is an act of enormous strategic importance for the rules-based international order, at a time when some are questioning this order.”
The EU-Japan free trade agreement (FTA) is the largest trade deal ever negotiated by the EU. It will create a trade zone covering 600 million people and nearly a third of global GDP.
Once fully implemented, the free trade agreement will remove most of the duties that EU companies pay annually to export to Japan. It will also eliminate several regulatory barriers.
In addition, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to fight protectionism and to defend the rules-based international trading system. They committed to modernise the World Trade Organisation in line with the conclusions of the Charlevoix G7 Summit.
The EU-Japan strategic partnership agreement was also signed at the summit. The parties say this agreement will take the EU’s long-standing partnership with Japan to a new level, with ‘deeper and more strategic cooperation’.
Both sides reaffirmed their strong commitment to implement the Paris agreement on climate change by focussing on emission reduction and improving energy efficiency.
Leaders also welcomed the conclusion of the talks on an adequate level of data protection by the EU and Japan. This should create the world’s largest area of safe data transfers with a high level of data protection.
EU and Japanese leaders discussed a range of regional and international issues, including the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
Mr Tusk said the EU stood side by side with Japan in its efforts “to maintain pressure on Pyongyang so as to ensure complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. “We want to see an end to all of DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes,” he added.
Both sides reiterated their support to the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) as well as to Ukrainian sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
Original article found on Malta Winds