EU-Japan to make biggest free trade agreement

Featured - July 18th, 2012
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The European Union is set to launch negotiations with Japan into what would be the world’s largest free trade agreement, Financial Times reports.

The EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, will ask the permission of its 27 member states to push for the trade deal, which has been welcomed by both economies as they seek ways to recover from the global slowdown. EU industries also voiced their support for the agreement, which could increase the Union’s gross domestic product by 0.8% while adding almost 420,000 jobs, according to the Commission.

European car makers were cynical about the agreement, having been disappointed by a trade deal with South Korea, whose car exports have since outpaced PSA Peugeot-Citroen.

Europe’s trade commissioner Kared De Gucht made the rare move to assuage fears of auto makers and skeptical member states by including a condition that would allow member states “to call off negotiations after one year if Japan does not follow through on promises to remove certain non-tariff barriers related to automobiles, food and drink, and medical services, among other products”.