The European Union and Japan signed a huge free trade deal covering a third of the world’s economy on Tuesday that cuts or eliminates tariffs on nearly all goods.
The agreement covers 600 million people and almost a third of the global economy. It’s also a major endorsement of a global trading system that is under increasing threat from protectionism.
It will remove tariffs on European exports such as cheese and wine. Japanese automakers and electronics firms will face fewer barriers in the European Union.
The dismantling of trade barriers stands in stark contrast to the approach taken by President Donald Trump, who has imposed tariffs on a range of foreign goods and is threatening more action.
Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, hailed the agreement as the “largest bilateral trade deal ever.”
“Relations between the European Union and Japan have never been stronger,” he said in a written statement. “Geographically, we are far apart. But politically and economically we could hardly be any closer.”