World Bulletin / News Desk
The trade agreement, which will create an open trade zone covering over 600 million people, is the biggest ever negotiated by the EU, according to a statement from the European Commission.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker noted that the deal was more than a trade agreement.
"It is a statement by two like-minded partners that together represent nearly a third of the world's GDP and reiterate their commitment to uphold the highest standards in areas such as labor, safety, environmental or consumer protection."
The EU's trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said the deal showed the two biggest economies' belief in open trade, opposing both unilateralism and protectionism.
The deal is to strengthen cooperation between Europe and Japan, reaffirm their shared commitment to sustainable development, and include for the first time a specific commitment to the Paris climate agreement, the statement read.
The vast majority of €1 billion ($1.17 billion) worth of tariffs paid annually by EU companies exporting to Japan and a number of longstanding regulatory barriers will be lifted thanks to the agreement.
It includes the removal of Japanese tariffs on cheese, such as gouda and cheddar (which currently are at 29.8 percent), and wine exports (currently at 15 percent on average).
The agreement will allow the EU to increase its beef exports to Japan substantially, while on pork there will be duty-free trade for processed meat and near duty-free trade for fresh meat.
The deal also opens up services markets, in particular financial services, e-commerce, telecommunications and transport.
The agreement is awaiting ratification from the European Parliament and the Japanese Diet, following which it could enter into force in 2019.
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