The European Union and Japan have inaugurated a landmark deal they say will boost trade between the two economic powers and sends the message that international agreements still have a purpose in an age of increasing protectionism.
President of the European Union Commission Jean-Claude Juncker speaks during a session of the parliament at the EU headquarters, in Brussels, on January 30, 2019. (Photos: VCG)
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.
Cover image: President of the European Union Commission Jean-Claude Juncker (L) speaks during a session of the parliament at the EU headquarters, in Brussels, on January 30, 2019.