European Union negotiate free trade agreement with Japan

European Union will check the position of Japan on the prospect for establishment of free trade agreement. The European Union will try to resist the protectionist tendencies of the newly elected US president Donald Trump and show that the impact of the block to open the market still exist and develop.

The chief negotiator from EU side, Mauro Petriccione, will travel to Tokyo on Monday to assess whether the two countries can finish almost four years trade talks this month.

Europe and Japan aimed to conclude the free trade agreement and expand the annual exchange of goods for over 100 billion EURas well as transactions for 40 billion EUR in the services sector. Japan is the second largest trading partner of European Union in Asia after China. The commercial transaction between Brussels and Tokyo follows the already concluded agreements with South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam and Canada. Long being hidden in the shadows of trade talks of the EU with the US, the negotiations with Japan are a top priority for Europe to maintain its commercial influence after the victory of Trump.

“This is a way for both sides to show that open markets with good trade agreements still worth. We must not succumb to protectionist signals that sound in some countries”, said EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom. “The criticism of Trump during his campaign for free trade deals, signal that planned Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will be frozen, when he took office in February. Since the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is facing the same fate, the Japanese government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shows greater political will to reach an agreement with Europe. The disappointment, which many countries feel for that TPP will not happen, at least not soon, of course, led many of us to rethink some of our trading strategies. This led to closer contact between us and Japan”, added she.

Shinzo Abe said earlier that he wants the best result in terms of the national interest and keeps open the possibility of progress with the EU this month. The Japanese government will do everything possible to reach agreement on a broad framework for these negotiations by the end of the year. In the negotiations, the EU urges Japan to eliminate duties on European products such as chocolate, pasta, tomato paste and cheese, to reduce non-tariff barriers for cars and open public contracts in the rail sector. In return, the EU plans to suspend 10-percent duty on Japanese cars and to ease access to Europe for Japanese executives. The bloc said it would abstain from the request for duty-free access to the Japanese market for sensitive agricultural commodities such as rice, beef and pork.

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