• Kyodo

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Japan and the European Union on Friday celebrated the entry into force of a free trade agreement between them, with officials from both sides hopeful about the potential business and economic opportunities available in a new marketplace of over 600 million people.

For Japan, the accord covering a third of the global economy comes in addition to the 11-member Trans-Pacific Partnership, which took effect Dec. 30. The signing of these multilateral deals is seen as an effort by member countries to stem the rise of protectionism, something that has taken on greater urgency amid the U.S.-China trade war.

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