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EU-Japan FTA clears hurdles for early 2019 start

Around 70 per cent of European Parliament lawmakers recently backed the European Union (EU)-Japan agreement that binds two economies accounting for about a third of global gross domestic product and signals their rejection of protectionism by launching the world’s largest free trade zone early next year. Japan’s parliament also approved it recently.

EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said the deal would bring clear benefits to EU companies and farmers.

The EU-Japan agreement will remove EU tariffs of 10 per cent on Japanese cars and 3 per cent for most car parts. It will scrap Japanese duties of around 30 per cent on EU cheese and 15 per cent on wines as well as open access to public tenders in Japan. It will also open up services markets, such as financial services, telecoms, e-commerce and transport.

Critics, however, say the agreement will give too much power to multinationals and could undermine environmental and labour standards, according to a news agency report.
Both Brussels and Tokyo reportedly want it in place before Britain leaves the EU at the end of March