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EU, Japan eye landmark trade deal next year, criticise Russia over Ukraine

Published on May 7, 2014 11:01 PM
 
Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe (left) and European Union (EU) Council president Herman Van Rompuy give a press conference on May 7, 2014, at the EU Headquarters in Brussels following the 22nd summit meeting between EU and Japan. The European Union and Japan agreed on Wednesday to try to conclude talks on an ambitious free-trade deal next year that would encompass about a third of the global economy, despite European carmakers' scepticism about Tokyo's commitment. -- PHOTO: AFP 

BRUSSELS (REUTERS) - The European Union and Japan agreed on Wednesday to try to conclude talks on an ambitious free-trade deal next year that would encompass about a third of the global economy, despite European carmakers' scepticism about Tokyo's commitment.

An EU-Japan trade pact, potentially one of the world's biggest, would be part of an emerging patchwork of sophisticated accords between the world's richest countries as they search for growth following the worst financial crisis in a generation and the failure of global free-trade talks.

"We confirmed the importance of an early conclusion and 2015 is the target date for a basic agreement," Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a joint news conference with European Council President Herman van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso after a summit.

Negotiations on a trade deal began in April 2013 and the European Commission has estimated an agreement could add up to one per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) to both the Japanese and the EU economies while deepening economic ties.

 
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