European Union signs 'historic' trade deal with Japan

European Union signs 'historic' trade deal with Japan”

While the two USA allies reached a deal of their own to open up trade, the Trump administration has repeatedly doubled down on its decision to hit the EU, Mexico, Canada and China with steep tariffs.

"Politically, it's a light in the increasing darkness of global politics", European Council President Tusk said of the deal, according to The Guardian.

"It is the common duty of Europe and China, but also America and Russian Federation, not to destroy (the global trade order) but to improve it, not to start trade wars which turned into hot conflicts so often in our history", Tusk said Monday in Beijing.

As the United States is turning to protectionism under President Donald J. Trump, the two United States allies signed a trade deal to bolster globalization.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker noted that the deal was more than a trade agreement.

As well as the ongoing trade war with China, the U.S. recently threatened to sanction European companies who do business with Iran, having already levied tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium from the EU.

The EU and Japan concluded several years of data talks in Tokyo in the margins of a bilateral summit and the deal should come into effect towards the end of this year, once the European Commission and the Japanese government have finalised details.

The deal removes the 10% tariff the European Union levies on importing Japanese cars and the 3% tariff on most vehicle parts, Reuters reported.

It was delayed from earlier this month because Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cancelled going to Brussels over a disaster in southwestern Japan, caused by extremely heavy rainfall. The difference is due to temporary exemptions for culturally and politically sensitive products such as rice.

As things stand, the Philippines could be the most at risk nation in Southeast Asia from the worsening trade conflict between the United States and China. Recently, Trump described the 27-member European Union as a "foe" for its trade practices.

Cooperation between Japan and the European Union would extend beyond trade to other areas, said Tusk, including climate change. The European bloc is also pursuing deals with Mexico, Australia, and Mercosur, the South American trading bloc that includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Japan's worldwide economic affairs ambassador, Yoichi Suzuki, previously said it was a "very high priority that the deal enter before the end of March 2019". Japan, meanwhile, imports motor vehicles, machinery, pharmaceuticals, optical, and medical instruments, and electrical machinery from the EU.

The EU, with 28 countries and 500 million people, is seeking access to one of the world's richest markets.

This would mean that the Japanese will be able to buy cheaper cheese, wine and other alcoholic drinks from the EU.

The European Commission (EC) has also rejected warnings from consumer advocates about higher drinking water prices and forced privatizations of public services.

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