Japan, EU vow utmost efforts to put free trade deal into force


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday vowed utmost efforts to conclude their domestic procedures by the end of the year to put a bilateral free trade agreement into force at an early date.

During their talks in Brussels, Abe expressed concerns about stalled negotiations over Britain's exit from the 28-member regional bloc and called for measures to mitigate a negative impact on Japanese companies operating in the EU region, Japanese officials said.

The Japan-EU summit meeting took place after EU leaders failed to resolve differences on how to deal with the land border between the British territory of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland at their two-day gathering.

Amid an escalating trade war between the United States and China, the two leaders also confirmed their cooperation for reforming the World Trade Organization, the officials said.

Abe is visiting Brussels to attend the Asia-Europe Meeting summit that brings together 53 countries and international organizations.

In a separate meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Abe shared with her the importance of a multilateral trade system based on WTO rules.

On security, Abe and Merkel reaffirmed the need to completely implement U.N. Security Council resolutions imposed on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, they said.


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