EU, Ja­pan sum­mit to strike trade deal

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

The Euro­pean Union and Ja­pan will hold a sum­mit to­mor­row in hopes of seal­ing broad agree­ment on a mas­sive trade deal af­ter four years of tough ne­go­ti­a­tions. The land­mark deal would mark a big vic­tory for free trade just days be­fore a G20 sum­mit in Ger­many in which US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is ex­pected to de­fend his “Amer­ica First” pro­tec­tion­ist stance.

The hastily-planned Brus­sels meet­ing will be at­tended by Tusk, EU Com­mis­sion chief Jean-Claude Juncker and Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe and fol­lows weeks of in­tense ne­go­ti­a­tions in Tokyo. The EU and Ja­panese economies com­bined ac­count for a colos­sal 28 per­cent of global out­put. “EU-Ja­pan Sum­mit on Thurs­day. Am­bi­tious free and fair trade deal in the mak­ing,” Euro­pean Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Don­ald Tusk tweeted.

“At the sum­mit, lead­ers are ex­pected to an­nounce a po­lit­i­cal agree­ment on the EUJa­pan free trade agree­ment and the EUJa­pan strate­gic part­ner­ship agree­ment,” a state­ment said sep­a­rately. At this stage, the EU and Ja­pan are ex­pected to reach only a “po­lit­i­cal agree­ment” on the trade deal, that would still cover some of the ac­cord’s tough­est as­pects.

A com­plete deal would be for­mally signed later in the year, ac­cord­ing to EU plans. Premier Abe in Tokyo said that the deal was not done and sent Ja­pan’s For­eign Min­is­ter Fu­mio Kishida to Brus­sels for talks on Wed­nes­day to iron out fi­nal dif­fer­ences. — AFP

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