EU, Japan get ready for free-trade deal


Four years of talks between the European Union and Japan are expected to end in a new free-trade deal to be signed later this week, the EU said on Tuesday.

An EU-Japan summit in Brussels on Thursday will formalize both a free-trade arrangement and a deal on "strategic partnership," according to the EU.

European Council President Donald Tusk and president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, will represent the EU. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will head a Japanese delegation.

Japan and the EU have been in negotiations since March 2013.

"The EU-Japan trade agreement would not only boost the EU's economy. It would also strengthen Europe's leadership in shaping global rules according to our values," an EU statement read.

Currently almost 74,000 European firms export to Japan -- a G20 economy. Well over half a million people in Europe are employed by Japanese companies, according to EU data.

Europe exports €58-billion worth ($66 billion) of goods to Japan.

Tuesday's statement said the leaders will also discuss strengthening EU-Japan partnership on security. They will also exchange views on cooperation regarding energy, science and technology and data protection.

Cooperation on migration issues and the situations in Ukraine and Syria will also be on the agenda.

Japanese leaders are to attend a G20 summit later this week in Hamburg, Germany.

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