Japan

Abe, Dutch PM Rutte working to avoid no-deal Brexit

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday he and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte agreed to do what they can to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

Japan and the Netherlands, among the world's leading five exporters, are both significantly exposed to the disruption to international trade that a disorderly British departure from the European Union would cause.

Speaking in the Netherlands a day before meeting British Prime Minister Theresa May, Abe told reporters he and Rutte "want to see the influence of Brexit to the global economy minimized."

"We will continue to work closely with Theresa May to help in whatever way we can in the run-up to the (UK parliamentary) vote" on the exit deal she struck with Brussels, Abe said.

Rutte said the Netherlands is "working hard in close conjunction with our German and French colleagues to bring the vote next week to a good conclusion."

Rutte hailed a trade deal the EU and Japan signed last year that eliminates about 99 percent of the tariffs on Japanese goods sold to the bloc. The agreement is expected to lift about 94 percent of the tariffs on European exports to Japan and rise to 99 percent in the future.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks before a dinner with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on Wednesday. Photo: REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw © (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.