Japan, EU ink free trade deal amid worries about U.S. protectionism

European council president Donald Tusk

European council president Donald Tusk

The Japan-EU trade deal is also a sign of shifting global ties as Trump distances the United States from long-time allies like the EU, NATO and Canada.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk will sign the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo at the 25th EU-Japan Summit.

This is not to say that the EU-Japan Economic Partnership is a bad deal, it is most certainly a step in the right direction for both sides, but if the EU truly seeks the kind of leverage against a protectionist U.S. partner that many European leaders are quick to boast of, taking things a step further and engaging in meaningful negotiations to create a freer trading environment between Brussels and Beijing is necessary. "We are sending a clear message that you can count on us, both Japan and the EU".

Japan took a leadership role in preserving an 11-member Trans-Pacific deal after Mr Trump pulled the United States out immediately after taking office.

"The European agriculture sector, in particular, has something to celebrate, with access to the enormous Japanese market and protection for over 200 distinctive food and drinks like Champagne and Parma ham", she said, according to an EU press release.

Japan and the European Union also agreed yesterday to establish a regular dialogue on trade and economic policy, with the first meeting to be held before year's end.

It is also the first trade agreement negotiated by the European Union to include a specific commitment to the Paris climate agreement.

Meanwhile, Japan is also in talks with China, India and other Asian countries to create the 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which could become the world's largest trading bloc.

The European Union and Japan have signed a trade deal that promises to eliminate 99 percent of tariffs that cost businesses in the EU and Japan almost $1.17 billion annually.

The agreement was largely reached late a year ago.

Once passed, the AP reports Japan will see lower prices on European wines, cheese, pork, handbags, and pharmaceuticals while the EU will see lower price tags on Japanese machinery parts, tea, and fish.

On Sunday, Mr Trump fuelled rising rancour among America's allies by labelling the European Union, along with Russian Federation and China, "a foe" of the United States, and repeating his assertion that the European Union has "really taken advantage of us on trade". "About 94 percent of the tariffs on European exports to Japan will be lifted, rising to 99 percent in the future". Japan's parliament also needs to approve it.

Beyond trade, European and Japanese leaders undertake to recognize each or's data protection systems, so as to ensure free movement (e.g., user data for commercial purposes) because authorities of both Blocks will apply similar standards.

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