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    European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom holds a news conference on Commission's proposal for a new methodology for anti-dumping investigations, at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium November 9, 2016.

    Japan, European Union Close to Finalizing Free Trade Deal - Trade Commissioner

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    EU trade commissioner said that Brussels and Tokyo are likely to finalize negotiations, concerning the free trade agreement by the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) Brussels and Tokyo are likely to finalize negotiations, concerning the free trade agreement by the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017, EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said on Monday.

    "We’re very close in finalizing," Malmstrom told the Financial Times.

    Japan reportedly fears that the free trade agreement similar to EU-Canada agreement (CETA) might have the same troubles with its adoption.

    Malstrom reassured Tokyo that the European Union was committed to finalizing the negotiations and settling all disagreements, the newspaper reported.

    According to the Financial Times, the Japanese side does not consider the investment court system as necessary as the European Union does. The investment court system would allow companies to sue governments, and that was one of the main reasons why CETA adoption process had nearly failed, after the French-speaking region of Belgium opposed the ratification of the deal.

    The EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement negotiations were officially launched on March 25, 2013. The agreement is aimed at liberalization of trade and increase of exports and investment. Japan is EU's second biggest partner in Asia.

    Earlier this year, similar free trade agreement with the United States was cancelled after thousands of EU citizens protested against the deal. CETA has also faced sharp criticism, but, eventually, the deal was signed.

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    free trade agreement, European Union, Cecilia Malmstrom, Japan
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