European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker talks on his cellphone at the European Parliament in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. European Union leaders offered a united chorus of "No" on Wednesday to Britain's belated bid to negotiate changes to the Brexit divorce deal, with one official calling on British lawmakers to stop bickering and work out a cross-party approach. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

EU, Japan welcome deal boosting trade between 2 world powers

February 01, 2019 - 1:59 am

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union and Japan have inaugurated a landmark deal they say will boost trade between the two economic powers and sends the message that international agreements still have a purpose in an age of increasing protectionism.

The agreement that comes into effect Friday will scrap nearly all tariffs on products both sides trade in. It will have a big impact on Japanese exports of cars to Europe and EU exports of agricultural products like cheese to Japan.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: "Europe and Japan are sending a message to the world about the future of open and fair trade."

The EU and Japan account for almost a third of the world's economy and the deal is on average expected to benefit their 635 million citizens.