EU lawmakers back free-trade deal with Japan

STRASBOURG (REUTERS) - European Union and Japanese plans to form the world's largest free-trade area cleared their final hurdle on Wednesday (Dec 12) when EU lawmakers backed a partnership set to enter force next year.

The European Parliament voted 474 in favour to 156 against the agreement that binds two economies accounting for about a third of global gross domestic product and also signals their rejection of protectionism.

Both face trade tensions with Washington and remain subject to US tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump on imports of steel and aluminium.