EU-Japan Trade Deal A “Clear Signal” Against Protectionism, Welcomed By EU Business Circles

Business circles in the European Union (EU) have hailed as a “clear signal” of resisting protectionism the recently signed free trade deal between the EU and Japan.

Covering about 30 percent of global gross domestic product, the largest economic bloc of the world has been created by the trade agreement between the two parties.

“The agreement is a milestone in international trade, at a time when rules-based trade is under pressure. This agreement will liberalize up to 99 percent of bilateral trade between two regions that cover a quarter of the world’s gross domestic product,” said Pierre Gattaz, President of BusinessEurope.

“It will open up many economic opportunities and it will be a clear signal to the world, that the EU is a strong proponent of trade liberalization and a defender of rules-based trade,” Gattaz added.

The deal has laso been welcomed by DIGITALEUROPE, an organization the represents a major chuck of the digital technology companies in the EU.

“The EU and Japan are sending a strong signal in favor of free trade around the world,” said Cecilia BonefeldDahl, Director General of DIGITALEUROPE.

“We are grateful to the Japanese government and to the European Commission for their efforts in improving the global business environment, as the agreement is meant to trigger a long-term GDP increase for the EU estimated to +0.76 percent and an increase of exports by + 34 percent for the EU,” she added.

According to the players in the EU agri-food chain, the free trade agreement would create some significant opportunities for exporters of the EU – particularly those dealing in a multitude of agricultural products, food and drinks.

“The EU agri-food chain partners see this agreement as an important step towards reinforcing the relations with one of our key trade partners, based on a shared commitment to progressive rules-based trade liberalization and cooperation to achieve mutual benefits,” read a joint statement issued by EU agri-food chain (Copa and Cogeca, CELCAA and FoodDrinkEurope).

Indications have also come from several leaders of the European Council who have described the deal as a means to counter the rising trend and policies of protectionism that the US is following which is detrimental to global free trade as well as the free trade and the rules-based international order.

“This is an act of enormous strategic importance for the rules-based international order, at a time when some are questioning this order. We are sending a clear message that we stand together against protectionism,” said European Council President Donald Tusk in a press conference on Tuesday after the deal was signed.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that the statement about the future of free trade has been made by the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan.

“The agreement puts fairness and values at its core. There is no protection in protectionism, and there is no unity where there is unilateralism,” added Juncker.

(Adapted from Xinhuanet.com)

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