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    European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom addresses a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, August 4, 2015

    EU Commissioner Reiterates EU-Japan Commitment to Strike Free Trade Deal Soon

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    The European Union and Japan are committed to reaching a deal on a common free trade zone in near time, EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said Friday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The two discussed the way forward for the negotiations on the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and affirmed their readiness to work out a highly comprehensive and ambitious pact.

    "The few remaining issues are the most difficult to be solved, but I am confident that the distance between our respective positions can be bridged soon," the EU official in charge of trade policies said.

    Malmstrom spoke after a meeting with Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on the sidelines of the G20 foreign ministers’ gathering in Bonn, Germany.

    Bilateral talks on the FTA began in 2013 following a year-long impact assessment. EU and Japanese officials last met in September 2016 in an attempt to reach the deal by the end of that year, but differences had prevented them from doing so.

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