EU signals free trade commitment with Japan deal

18 Jul 18

The European Union and Japan today signed one of the world’s biggest free trade deals between economies that together account for nearly a third of global gross domestic product.

The deal, which comes in the midst of a global trade war following a US decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, is being seen as a signal of EU opposition to protectionism.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker called the arrangement a “win-win”, and said: “[The] impact of today’s agreement goes far beyond our shores.

“Together we are making, by signing this agreement, a statement about the future of free and fair trade.”

He added that the deal showed that “we are stronger and better off when we work together” and that the countries “are leading by example” by showing that trade is more than tariffs.

“It is about values, principles and finding ‘win-win’ solutions for all those concerned.”

One of the largest categories of EU exports to Japan is dairy goods, while one of the Asian country’s biggest exports includes cars.

The IMF said yesterday that the trade tension following the US tariffs could cost the global economy hundreds of billions of dollars.

In June the administration of President Donald Trump imposed import tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium.

Other nations have retaliated against the US by imposing their own tariffs as a countermeasure.

The EU imposed duties of £2.4bn on products such as bourbon whiskey, motorcycles and orange juice, which took effect on 22 June.

Canada also announced it would impose tariffs on imports of US metal products and other items, such as yoghurt, coffee and water.

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