Japan, EU Reach Broad Accord in Trade Talks (News)
Brussels, July 5 (Jiji Press)—Japan and the European Union reached a broad accord in their four-year-old trade negotiations on Wednesday, set to create a free trade zone that covers 30% of trade around the globe.
Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio and European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstroem, meeting in Brussels, resolved outstanding issues of the EPA negotiations launched in April 2013.
"We confirmed the achievement of a broad accord," Kishida told reporters after the meeting.
"We've reached political agreement at Ministerial level," Malmstroem said on Twitter.
Kishida and Malmstroem met after they failed to resolve differences over key issues at a two-day EPA session in Tokyo through Saturday.
The broad accord will be announced in Brussels on Thursday when Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō holds talks with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
According to EU sources, Japan agreed to set a low-tariff import quota for European cheese and eliminate its tariffs on some items, and the EU agreed to abolish its 10% tariff on Japanese cars seven years after the EPA takes effect. Other issues such as investment, which includes procedures to settle disputes between companies and host countries, will be set aside until after the summit between Japanese and EU leaders.
The Abe administration is expected to work promptly to gain Diet approval for the EPA with the EU and to provide assistance to domestic producers of dairy goods, pork, lumber and other items to be affected by the deal.
The Japan-EU economic partnership agreement is seen as putting a damper on growing protectionism following the United States withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership earlier this year.[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd. Content added by the Nippon.com editorial team.]