Japan, EU sign free trade pact

Tokyo : Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and European Union (EU) leaders signed a free trade agreement on Tuesday, eliminating tariffs on a majority of their products to enhance business between the two sides.

Abe, during talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk, described the deal as momentous, trumpeting the virtues of free trade versus protectionism, Xinhua said.

In the meeting in Tokyo prior to the signing ceremony, Abe described the deal as a “historic achievement”. Abe was predominantly referring to the protectionist trade policies being pushed by US President Donald Trump. The US policies saw both Japan and the EU slapped with tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium exports.

The pact signed will come into effect by March 2019 and see Japan eliminate tariffs on 94 per cent of all imports from EU. The single bloc eurozone, for its part, will eliminate tariffs on 99 per cent of imports from Japan.

Tariffs on Japan’s automobile exports will be erased by EU in 2027, while those of TVs will be eliminated in 2025, according to the pact.

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