European Union and Japan to sign trade framework deal

European Union and Japan to sign trade framework deal

The EU and Japan will hold a summit in Brussels today, where both parties are expected to sign off on

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

The EU and Japan will hold a summit in Brussels today, where both parties are expected to sign off on the framework for a long-awaited free trade deal.

In the works since 2013, the pact will cover a quarter of the global economy and seek to upgrade the $140 billion trade relationship. Under the framework, the EU would drop a 10% duty on Japanese cars while Japan would slash tariffs as high as 40% on European cheese.

Negotiators will still have to hammer out the details going into the Thursday summit, with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida cautioning “important issues” remain unresolved. European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, however, expressed confidence in reaching a framework at the summit following negotiations in Tokyo last week.

The European Commission lists “a powerful signal that two of the world’s biggest economies reject protectionism” as one of the agreement’s top goals. Potential targets of that signal will attend tomorrow’s G20 summit, including an “America First” president and a prime minister readying to Brexit.