Japan and the European Union agreed on Thursday to a free trade pact, creating the world's biggest open economic area and signalling resistance to what they see as U.S. President Donald Trump's protectionist turn. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Japan and the European Union agreed on Thursday (July 6) to a free trade pact, creating the world's biggest open economic area and signalling resistance to what they see as U.S. President Donald Trump's protectionist turn. In the works for four years, the "political agreement" has been pushed over the line towards a final treaty signature in the coming months by the election of Trump and his moves to ditch a Pacific trade pact that included Japan and leave talks with the EU in limbo. Tariffs on much of the bilateral trade -- which Abe noted accounts for some 40 percent of total world commerce -- will be phased out over some years and other economic areas, such as Japan's public tender system, will be opened up. Juncker said over 90 percent of the European exports to Japan would be liberalized thanks to the deal and added it would meet high standards of labour and environmental protection. Abe said the "political agreement" signed between two economies was heavy with symbolism as the three leaders are set to meet with Trump at a G20 summit in Hamburg. Juncker said he hoped the treaty could go into effect early in 2019. Tusk said the two political entities also discussed the situation of the North Korean peninsula and called on the international community to strengthen restrictive measures against North Korea after it test launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that some experts believe has the range to reach the U.S. states of Alaska and Hawaii.