Japan's Upper House approves free trade pact with EU by majority vote
Japan Times -- Dec 09
The Diet on Saturday approved an economic partnership agreement with the European Union that’s set to create a free trade bloc accounting for 30 percent of world output.

The Upper House passed the pact by a majority vote at a plenary session, with support mainly from the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito. The Lower House gave its approval late last month.

Japan is expected to finish necessary procedures, including amending governmental and ministerial ordinances, by the end of this year.

With the European Parliament slated to ratify the pact by year-end, the deal is seen coming into effect on Feb. 1, 2019.

The accord will follow the effectuation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement among 11 nations including Japan slated for Dec. 30.

Tokyo hopes to demonstrate the superiority of multilateral free trade regimes over bilateral ones before it kicks off trade talks with Washington next year, officials said.

Under the EU pact, tariffs will be removed for over 90 percent of the trade items between Japan and Europe.

Tariffs will decline for a wide range of agricultural, forestry and fishery products, including European cheese, wine and pork, allowing Japanese consumers to enjoy such goods at lower prices.

News source: Japan Times
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