Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will hold telephone talks with the leaders of the European Union for a possible free trade pact. This was revealed today by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, as a meeting in Tokyo to flesh out details of the agreement was postponed because of the Cyprus financial crisis.
Suga said Monday that PM Abe will be talking by phone with Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council which sets the EU’s political agenda, later in the day. Van Rompuy’s visit to Tokyo was canceled over the weekend as the financial situation in Cyprus became a full-blown crisis.Suga said that during the telephone summit, the EU will explain the Cyprus situation while at the same time, they will also launch negotiations on the Japan-EU economic partnership agreement and political accord. European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht has made the trip to Tokyo and will still be meeting with Japanese government and business officials as scheduled.
Resistance is traditionally high in some industries to removing tariffs, because these have long-protected the bottom producers like rice farmers and the agriculture-based bloc. But Japanese manufacturers are concerned about getting left behind on the trade agreements being negotiated by other countries, and so they are welcoming this opportunity to look into a pact with the EU. Among the likely beneficiaries of free trade would be Japan’s giant manufacturing exporters like Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s biggest automaker. Japanese consumers may also gain access to cheaper imports. All in all, this points to boosts in spending, which in turn may help the ailing Japanese economy, the world’s third largest.
[ via The Republic ]
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