The European Parliament has voted 474 in favour of a Free Trade Agreement with Japan that will bind the two economies, accounting for about a third of global gross domestic product and also signals their rejection of protectionism.
The vote cleared the final hurdle for the set up of the world’s largest free trade area set to come into force early next year.
Japan had been part of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership that U.S. President Donald Trump rejected on his first day in office, turning Tokyo’s focus to other potential partners – such as the European Union.
EU commissioner for trade, Cecilia Malmstrom said;
“This is an agreement with a friend and an ally. Japan is a strong democracy that shares our values, and together we stand up for fair trade, free trade, sustainable trade, based on multilateral rules. And you all know that they are under question today. It opens up fantastic possibilities for our goods, services, agrifood, products, Irish Whiskey and many others that can be sold to the benefit of Japanese customers.”