Japan, EU near free trade pact
24 June, 2017
Japan and the EU are nearing a broad agreement on a free trade pact, Japanese foreign ministry said after the minister Fumio Kishida spoke by phone with European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom last Wednesday. Japan and the EU are in the final phase of wrapping up a wide-ranging agreement on free trade early next month, seeking to strike deals on sensitive issues, such as access to the agriculture and automobile markets, Kyodo reported.
Japan and the EU have been negotiating the partnership agreement since 2013. Signing the deal with the EU, which comprises roughly 10% of Japan's total foreign trade, is among the key goals of PM Shinzo Abe's "Abenomics" stimulus programmes and growth strategy. Now Abe is eager to reach agreement after US President Donald Trump took the US out of the multi-member Trans-Pacific Partnership pact.
Japan media said that PM Shinzo Abe, European Council President Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, plan to meet on 6 July in Brussels to sign the broad agreement on the trade deal.