"Today we will review progress in our bilateral relations and provide a clear political direction to our negotiations on the EU-Japan free trade agreement and the strategic partnership agreement. Let me assure you that the European Union is fully committed to concluding the negotiations for both agreements very soon," Tusk told reporters with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Moreover, The European Union’s negotiations with Japan on trade are in the decisive, hopefully final stages, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said Monday, expressing hope that the free trade deal would be concluded this year.
"Our negotiations with Japan are in the decisive, and hopefully final stage … Following our discussions today, I am confident this will pave the way for a swift agreement this year," Juncker said in a joint press statement with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
"I find it important for Japan and the EU to cooperate with the United States as well to show to the world the flag of free trade as a model. In this regard, I wish to reconfirm with the EU today that we shall try to aim for agreement in principle for negotiations for the Japan-EU economic partnership agreement and a strategic partnership agreement at the earliest possible date," Abe told reporters.
The news comes following US President Donald Trump's signing of an executive order withdrawing the US from the Transpacific Partnership trade deal with Asia-Pacific nations, including Japan. The possible collapse of the TTP in the longer term may encourage the Asia-Pacific countries to conclude free trade agreements that will be in sync with the format of the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership.This proposed free trade agreement includes ten ASEAN countries, including China, Japan, India, Australia, Indonesia, and South Korea.