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Early Japan-EU EPA can send ‘very good signal’

Jiji Press BRUSSELS (Jiji Press) — A European Commission source stressed the importance for Japan and the European Union to promote free trade by concluding an economic partnership agreement at an early date.

An early EPA conclusion between Japan and the EU can send a “very good signal” to the rest of the world, the source told reporters in Brussels recently.

The comments came as the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is moving to take protectionist trade policies.

The commission source said that the EU side has “tools to address potential challenges” in areas treated as “sensitive” products under the EPA talks with Japan.

The source said that Japan and the EU should consider such options as gradual tariff reductions and low-tariff import quotas for tricky areas, while basically sticking to full trade liberalization.

The source also said that Japan and the EU have common views on such areas as a geographical indication system for protecting the quality and brands of agricultural products.

Japan and the EU started the EPA talks in April 2013. Among pending issues, the EU side has called on Japan to import more cheese from Europe, while Tokyo is seeking the removal of EU tariffs on vehicles from Japan.Speech

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