EU, JA­PAN reach trade deal.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - RAF CASERT

BRUS­SELS — The lead­ers of the Euro­pean Union and Ja­pan on Thurs­day said their agree­ment in prin­ci­ple on free trade is the best an­ti­dote to the pro­tec­tion­ism seen to be pro­moted by the United States.

The lead­ers said in a state­ment that the EU and Ja­pan “demon­strate to the world — and to our cit­i­zens” — that free trade re­mains vi­tal to boost liv­ing stan­dards.

Coun­ter­ing calls for pro­tec­tion­ism, EU Council Pres­i­dent Don­ald Tusk said the po­lit­i­cal agree­ment proves that “the world doesn’t need to go back 100 years back in time,” when open trade was not as preva­lent.

Ja­pan’s Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe said “it sends a strong mes­sage to the world” and that both lead­ers will be able to make that point when they are at the Group of 20 sum­mit of world lead­ers to­day in Ham­burg, Ger­many.

The deal, clinched Wed­nes­day be­fore Abe’s ar­rival, cov­ers re­gions equiv­a­lent to onethird of the world econ­omy.

Since it was a po­lit­i­cal agree­ment — mean­ing some de­tails have yet to be filled in — the tim­ing of the deal after four years of talks was key.

Abe and Tusk will be able to hold the deal up as ev­i­dence against any claims that ma­jor free trade deals are some­thing of the past.

“Some are saying that the time of iso­la­tion­ism and dis­in­te­gra­tion is com­ing again. We are demon­strat­ing that this is not the case,” Tusk said.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and his “Amer­ica First” motto will be at odds with many others at­tend­ing the sum­mit. Mean­while the EU and Ja­pan are al­ready high­light­ing the prof­its from their deal — in­clud­ing car­mak­ers in Ja­pan and cham­pagne pro­duc­ers in Europe.

The deal elim­i­nates tar­iffs on many goods and ser­vices so pro­duc­ers can com­pete on a more level play­ing field in each other’s mar­kets. For con­sumers, it will mean some prod­ucts will be cheaper.

EU ex­ports of goods and ser­vices to Ja­pan to­tal about $99 bil­lion a year. Ja­pan in turn ex­ports some $94 bil­lion to the 28-na­tion bloc.

EU Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Juncker es­ti­mated that EU wine­mak­ers would save $153 mil­lion a year and leather and shoe man­u­fac­tur­ers $199 mil­lion.

Cheeses like gouda and ched­dar face tar­iffs of some 30 per­cent to en­ter the Ja­panese mar­ket.

And the spe­cial name sta­tus of EU foods, from Tiroler Speck to Camem­bert cheese, Munch­ener beer and Pol­ish vodka, will be pro­tected.

That will hap­pen only after the fi­nal hur­dles are cleared over the com­ing months. Doc­u­ments need to be legally vet­ted and trans­lated into the many EU lan­guages be­fore the deal gets rat­i­fied by na­tional leg­is­la­tures.

The EU aims to have the deal ac­tive by the spring of 2019.

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