The European Union and Japan are inching closer to a free trade agreement after years of negotiations. A Ministry official from Japan Told Reuters that “both share understanding that a broad agreement is within reach.” The European Union says the deal will allow for easier access for EU products into Japan, and that its agri-food industry, along with pharmaceuticals, stands to benefit the most from the agreement. Signing the Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU is a priority for Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s stimulus programs and growth strategy. Reuters says the EU-Japan deal has taken on greater importance since U.S. President Donald Trump took the United States out of the multi-member Trans-Pacific Partnership pact, leaving the remaining 11 members including Tokyo to figure out what to do without the group’s biggest economy. The European Union currently accounts for roughly 10 percent of Japan’s total foreign trade.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.