Japan & EU hail trade deal, promoting their produce each other

TOKYO, Feb. 3 ― Japanese and European top officials presented their proudly produce in Tokyo on Feb. 1 when the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) came into effect.

Japanese Agriculture Minister Takamori Yoshikawa and Patricia Flor, the EU ambassador to Japan, among others, broke open a sake barrel at a ceremony to mark the trade pact’s entry into force.

Tokyo presented Japanese sake from Ishikawa prefecture, Kagoshima’s shochu, a distilled liquor made from grain or sweet potatoes, Yamanashi’s wine, and other local produce.

Brussel also presented EU products, including champagne, cheese and olive oil from Greek.

The trade deal is dubbed as “cars for cheese” because of business opportunities for Japanese carmakers and EU farmers, means EU duties on Japanese vehicles and parts will be phased out and EU farmers also will save duties.

And the pact sweeps away almost all EU tariffs on Japanese farm products and processed food, but regulatory barriers to trade must be improved for Japanese farmers.

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