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EU, Japan strengthen bilateral ties

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EU, Japan strengthen bilateral ties

Juncker - Tusk - Abe - Photo EU Council

(BRUSSELS) - The recently-signed EU-Japan free trade agreement was hailed as "one of the greatest achievements in EU-Japan relations" by EU and Japanese leaders meeting at their summit in Brussels Thursday.

At the 26th EU-Japan summit, EU Council president Donald Tusk, Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reaffirmed their strong support for the rules-based international order, for promoting multilateralism as well as free and fair global trade, and coordinated their positions in view of the G20 summit on 28-29 June in Osaka.

The summit was also an opportunity to appraise the implementation of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA).

"By implementing it swiftly, we are boosting prosperity and quality of life of our people," said Mr Tusk: "This is a clear message to the world that Japan and Europe stand side by side."

The trade deal has been in force since 1 February 2019, removing 97% the customs duties on EU exports to Japan.

The EU and Japan reaffirmed their commitment to free trade and the rules-based international order. Both sides stressed their commitment to fight protectionism and to defend the rules-based trading system.

Leaders committed to modernise the World Trade Organisation and to start negotiations to reform rules on industrial subsidies.

Leaders discussed the EU-Japan strategic partnership agreement. A large part of this agreement has also been provisionally applied since 1 February.

The EU and Japan agreed to work more closely together on sustainable connectivity between Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, as well as on quality infrastructure.

On data protection, both sides will continue to work together to shape global data protection standards. Earlier this year the EU and Japan recognised each other's data protection laws, creating the world's largest area of safe data transfers.

The EU and Japan also agreed to strengthen cooperation in the field of energy, transport, and research and innovation.

Both sides reaffirmed their strong commitment to implement the Paris agreement on climate change. They committed to join their efforts to address environmental challenges such as plastics in the ocean.

The summit was an occasion to prepare the G20 summit. It will take place in Osaka on 28-29 June 2019.

Mr Tusk said Japan could count on "full European support". "We will do our best to make the Summit a success for our people as well as for the whole global order, based on rules," he said.

Joint statement of the 26th EU-Japan summit

EU-Japan free trade agreement (European Commission)

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