Japan and the EU signed a sweeping free trade deal Tuesday that called a “clear message” against protectionism, as Washington impose up barriers and threatens a trade war.
The deal signed in Tokyo by the EU’s top officials and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is the largest ever negotiated by the EU and creates a free magnanimous trade zone covering nearly a third of the world’s GDP.
“We are sending a clear message that we stand together against protectionism,” EU Council President Donald Tusk said.
“Together we are making — by signing this agreement — a statement about free and fair trade, we are showing that we are stronger and better off when we work together,” added Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker.
The deal having being signed as President Donald Trump unsettles allies and provokes rivals with his aggressive “America First” trade policy.
Both Japan and the EU have been hit with new US tariffs despite their longstanding alliances with Washington.
Juncker said the deal sent a message that “trade is about more than tariffs and barriers, it is about values”.
“There is no protection in protectionism,” he said.
Abe, with the two EU officials, said the agreement, “shows the world the unshaken political will of Japan and the EU to lead the world as the champions of free trade at a time when protectionism has spread”.