EU, Japan conclude world's largest free trade agreement ever

Deal had ‘strategic importance’

The European Union and Japan have agreed terms for a free trade deal set to create the world’s biggest open economic area. The deal is expected to liberalise almost all trade between the bloc and the world’s third-largest economy.

The economic partnership agreement, which would be one of the largest free trade deals ever, “demonstrates the powerful political will of Japan and the E.U. to continue to keep the flag of free trade waving high,” the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and the president of the European Union’s executive arm, Jean-Claude Juncker, said in a joint statement.

It must now be ratified by EU members and the European Parliament.

A joint statement by Juncker and Abe said the deal had “strategic importance” beyond its economic value.

The deal, combining the 28-nation bloc, will remove EU tariffs of 10 per cent tariffs on Japanese cars and the 3 percent rate typically applied to car parts.

For the EU, it will scrap Japanese duties of some 30 per cent on EU cheese and 15 percent on wines as well as allowing it to increase its beef and pork exports and gain access to large public tenders in Japan.

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