World

Japan and EU agree on trade deal

BRUSSELS: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and top European Union (EU) officials yesterday agreed on the broad outline of a landmark trade deal, presented as a direct challenge to protectionism championed by US President Donald Trump.

"Today we agreed in principle on an Economic Partnership Agreement (with Japan), the impact of which goes far beyond our shores," European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker announced at a joint press conference with Mr Abe and European Council president Donald Tusk in Brussels.

The breakthrough capped four years of talks and came ahead of a G20 meeting in Germany at which Mr Trump is expected to defend his protectionist stance on trade.

"This accord is not just about trade but all the shared values of our societies: democracy, rule of law and human rights," said Mr Tusk.

The EU and Japanese economies together account for more than a quarter of global output, making the deal one of the biggest trade pacts ever attempted.

The "political agreement" on the trade deal covers some of the accord's toughest aspects but leaves aside details that could still prove difficult. At the heart of the deal is an agreement for the EU to open its market to the world-leading Japanese auto industry, with Tokyo scrapping barriers to EU farming products. - AFP

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