• Kyodo


Japan and the European Union ended their second round of free-trade negotiations Wednesday in Tokyo, having discussed the elimination of nontariff trade barriers and setting the stage for starting talks on specific articles of the envisioned pact.

During the round that began June 24, Japan detailed its progress in deregulation in such areas as auto safety standards, medicine and medical equipment, according to a government source.

The talks for facilitating economic exchanges between the two major economies also covered investment and intellectual property.

Japan and the EU together account for about 30 percent of global economic output and 40 percent of world trade.

The two sides agreed to hold the next round of talks in Brussels in the week of Oct. 21, the government said.

The bilateral negotiations began in April, part of a push by Japan to increase its involvement in various free-trade negotiations. The EU is scheduled to review the progress of the talks after one year.

Japan is hoping to boost auto and other exports to the regional bloc through the removal of EU-imposed tariffs, while the European Union is seeking to eliminate Japan’s nontariff barriers in the auto sector and gain greater access to public-sector projects in Japan.

The bilateral negotiations form part of Japan’s plan to lift the country’s economic growth by raising the percentage of transactions with free-trade partners in value terms to 70 percent by 2018 from the current 19 percent.

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