The Japan Times | 29 September 2016
EU wants swifter progress on economic partnership with Japan
Trade minister Hiroshige Seko has received a letter from a senior European Commission official urging prompt conclusion of an economic partnership agreement, Jiji Press learned Wednesday.
“We all have to do our utmost to find a breakthrough so that we can conclude an agreement as soon as possible, if possible by the end of this year,” Cecilia Malmstroem, commissioner for external trade at the European body, the executive arm of the EU, said in the letter.
“An ambitious EU-Japan free trade agreement would certainly open new business opportunities to both EU and Japanese companies and would contribute to economic growth and to employment both in the EU and in Japan,” she said.
Japan and the EU’s chief negotiators are holding talks in Brussels for five days through Friday.
Jyrki Katainen, vice president of the commission, visited Japan for three days through Sept. 21. In a meeting with Seko, he reaffirmed the aim of reaching a broad agreement on an EPA by the end of this year.