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Tusk: EU-Japan Deal 'Clear Message Against Protectionism' Amid Trade Row With US

© REUTERS / Martin Bureau/PoolJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk, July 17, 2018 at the Japanese Prime Minister office in Tokyo
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk, July 17, 2018 at the Japanese Prime Minister office in Tokyo - Sputnik International
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The European Union and Japan have concluded the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, the largest trade deal ever achieved by the bloc, which will cover almost a third of global GDP, according to the European Commission.

The European Council's President Donald Tusk stated that the trade agreement sealed by Brussels and Tokyo sends a "clear message" against protectionism.

"Together we are making — by signing this agreement — a statement about free and fair trade, we are showing that we are stronger and better off when we work together," he added.

The trade deal was singed earlier in the day at the 25th EU-Japan summit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk. The accord was due to be signed last week during the EU-Japan meeting in Brussels; however, the summit was canceled because of the deadly flooding in Japan.

READ MORE: Brexit Matters: Japan Focuses on Trade Agreement With EU

German chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the start of the G-20 meeting in Hamburg, northern Germany, on Friday, July 7, 2017. - Sputnik International
'Deal Between Japan, EU Trying to Build up Their Own Rules' – Researcher
After the Japanese and European parliaments endorse the agreement, which stipulates scrapping 99 percent of import duties, it will become the largest trade bloc in history, covering about 600 million people and nearly 30 percent of the world economy's output.

The deal comes amid a major trade row between Europe and Washington, with US President Donald Trump trying to advance his protectionist stance. In March, the US imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports from the European Union. The bloc heavily criticized Washington's move and in response, unanimously approved a set of retaliatory tariffs against the US trade duties, including those on whiskey and motorcycles.

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