Japan and the European Union on Thursday agreed on the terms of a new trade deal which will ease the movement of goods between two of the world’s biggest economies.
The announcement came after a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels.
The pact, which requires some further negotiation, is scheduled to come into effect in early-2019.
Negotiations have taken four years and significant hurdles remain. Still, leaders on both sides hailed the deal as a blow to protectionism, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Some are saying the time of isolationism and disintegration is coming again, we are demonstrating that this is not the case,” EC’s Donald Tusk was quoted as saying at a news conference.
With US$142 billion of exports and imports between the two sides in 2016, an EU-Japan trade deal would be one of the most significant the bloc has reached.
Officials have said it could eventually knock 1 billion euros off annually in customs duties.
Thursday’s announcement is a fresh sign of major global powers responding to US President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies, the Journal noted.
Trump arrived on Thursday in Hamburg, Germany, for a meeting of the Group of 20 major economies, where differing views on trade are likely to loom large.
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