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As the US Questions Free Trade EU and Japan Usher in New Deal

Japan-Europe Trade

The European Union and Japan on Friday ushered in a landmark trade deal they say will boost business between the two economic powers and sends the message that international pacts still have a purpose in an age of increasing protectionism.

The agreement that comes into effect will scrap nearly all tariffs on products both sides trade in. It will have a big impact on Japanese exports of cars to Europe and EU exports of agricultural products like cheese to Japan.

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EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Friday that both sides have “something to celebrate. Today, we have the entry into force of the largest ever free trade area.”

“Europe and Japan are sending a message to the world about the future of open and fair trade,” said EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

The EU and Japan account for almost a third of the world’s economy and the deal, which was formally signed last summer, is on average expected to benefit their 635 million citizens.

In Japan, shoppers could already get their hands on priced-down Spanish wines, since the duties on wine exports, which currently stand at 15 percent, were being scrapped.

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