EU, Japan iron out differences in free trade talks

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-05 22:21:37|Editor: Zhang Dongmiao
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BRUSSELS, June 5 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) and Japan solved the disagreements in their free trade talks on Wednesday, paving way for a bilateral summit scheduled to sign an official deal on Thursday, said EU Trade Commissioner Cecelia Malmstrom.

"We ironed out the few remaining differences in the EU-Japan trade negotiations," Malmstrom tweeted.

"We've reached political agreement at Ministerial level on an EU-Japan trade deal. We now recommend to leaders to confirm this at summit," she added.

Brussels and Tokyo have been making their final pith for a trade deal as both officials and diplomats crisscrossed for intensive negotiations, aiming to forge such an accord on the eve of G20 summit and send a strong signal against Washington's protectionism policy.

The two sides accelerated the talks following the U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew his country from Japan-involved Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal and left talks with the EU on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in standoff.

Malmstrom's remarks came after her meeting with visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida earlier this day in Brussels. The commissioner, together with the EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, spent the weekend in Tokyo to solve disagreements, mainly on farming and auto sectors.

The European Council President Donald Tusk and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker are set to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at EU-Japan Summit and agree on such a deal on Thursday, a day before the G20 summit scheduled on July 7-8 in Germany's Hamburg.

Japan is the EU's second largest trade partner in Asia. The two sides launched free trade talks in March 2013.