As US questions free trade, EU and Japan usher in new deal

The European Union and Japan have ushered in a landmark trade deal they say will boost business between the two economic powers and sends the message that international pacts still have a purpose in an age of increasing protectionism.

The agreement that comes into effect Friday will scrap nearly all tariffs on products both sides trade in. It will have a big impact on Japanese exports of cars to Europe and EU exports of agricultural products like cheese to Japan.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Europe and Japan are sending a message to the world about the future of open and fair trade.”

The EU and Japan account for almost a third of the world’s economy and the deal is on average expected to benefit their 635 million citizens.

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