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The free-trade agreement that recently took effect between Japan and Switzerland is expected to help Tokyo ease any unfavorable impact from the lengthy time it has spent trying to conclude a similar accord with the European Union, Swiss Vice President Doris Leuthard said.

Japan is still in the early stages of negotiating an FTA with the EU, having launched a private-public joint study panel, and lags behind neighboring economies, particularly South Korea, which agreed in July to sign a trade liberalization accord with the 27-member union.

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