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The EU and Japan have launched the largest free trade zone in the world after a deal to cut tariffs officially came into force on February 1, 2019.

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The EU and Japan have launched the largest free trade zone in the world after a deal to cut tariffs officially came into force on February 1, 2019.

The Economic Partnership Agreement was signed on July 18, 2018, a story PTI reported on, and saw both sides agree to remove 99% of tariffs on products.

It will save approximately US$115 annually in duties and cover 635 million people, according to the European Commission, and remove a number of long-standing non-tariff barriers.

The European Commission says it expects annual trade between the EU and Japan to increase by approximately $41 billion as a result of the agreement.

Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, said: "Europe and Japan are sending a message to the world about the future of open and fair trade.

“We are opening a new marketplace home to 635 million people and almost a third of the world's Gross Domestic Product, bringing the people of Europe and Japan closer together than ever before.

“More than anything, our agreement shows that trade is about more than quotas and tariffs, or millions and billions.

“It is about values, principles and fairness. It makes sure that our principles in areas such as labour, safety, climate and consumer protection are the global gold-standard.” 

 

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