Japan and the European Union plan to issue an upgraded bilateral pact covering their relations in a wide range of fields such as politics, economics and culture at their regular bilateral summit July 19, a senior trade ministry official said Wednesday.

The two sides decided to issue the new pact as their relations have improved since they last adopted a document defining them in 1991, said the official at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

Leaders of Japan and the EU will hold the summit in Tokyo before the Group of Eight nations’ annual summit in Okinawa on July 21-23.

European Commission President Romano Prodi and French President Jacques Chirac, who will hold the rotating six-month EU chair, will attend the bilateral meeting.

The two sides also hope to conclude the proposed Mutual Recognition Agreement, expected to facilitate bilateral trade by mutually recognizing product standards.

Japan and the EU are also hoping to demonstrate leadership in attempting to launch a new round of global trade liberalization talks under the World Trade Organization, the official said.

The attempt to launch the new WTO round collapsed last December in Seattle, and whether an early launch can be achieved remains uncertain.