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EU and Japan sign partnership agreement. “A powerful message to promote free, fair and rule-based trade”

(Brussels) “An epoch-marking step” has been made in Japan today by officially signing the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) at the end of the twenty-fifth EU-Japan summit in Tokyo. The agreements have been signed by Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, and Shinzō Abe, Prime Minister of Japan. “Extremely ambitious” is the programme of relationships between “two of the greatest economies in the world”, which is also “a powerful message to promote free, fair and rule-based trade” instead of protectionism and to “show to the world that the EU and Japan have a firm political will to keep the banner of free trade flying high”, a joint statement published after the signature states. The agreements will produce “sustainable, inclusive economic growth”, while boosting employment. The statement also insists on the “key role of the rule-based multilateral trade system that revolves around WTO and its fight against protectionism”: EU and Japan “undertake to update it” to “improve its efficiency and its role”. They are also firmly determined to join forces to implement the Paris agreement, as they “share” the same interests and concerns for foreign policy: Iran, North Korea, Ukraine.

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