Shinzo Abe arrives in Bulgaria ahead of Eastern Europe trade junket

Shinzo Abe arrives in Bulgaria ahead of Eastern Europe trade junket

As Bulgaria assumes its first presidency of the European Union this month, Shinzo Abe will arrive in the country today for talks with its prime minister. Coming at the start of a five-nation trip to Eastern Europe, Abe will put free-trade at the centre of his agenda. With Bulgaria holding the rotating presidency, Tokyo will

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Photo: Francois Walschaerts

As Bulgaria assumes its first presidency of the European Union this month, Shinzo Abe will arrive in the country today for talks with its prime minister.

Coming at the start of a five-nation trip to Eastern Europe, Abe will put free-trade at the centre of his agenda. With Bulgaria holding the rotating presidency, Tokyo will be looking to influence implementation plans for the recently concluded EU-Japan Economic Partnership.

Seeking new markets to aid its economic recovery, Japan is hoping that the agreement (representing 30% of global GDP) can help open restricted European sectors to Japanese goods, services and investments. The agreement will eliminate tariffs on imports of Japanese automobiles and industrial goods and end tariffs on European agricultural exports to Japan. The agreement is expected to boost Japanese GDP by up to 1%.

Expect Abe’s Eastern Europe tour to bring the much-touted trade deal closer to implementation. As Bulgaria seeks to put a timetable in place over the coming months, expect the agreement to be formally employed sometime in 2019.

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