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Japan and EU settle trade pact, aim for 2019 start

Massive deal positioned as a notch on the belt of multilateral free trade

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on March 21.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan and the European Union wrapped up negotiations Friday on a far-reaching economic partnership agreement that would encompass about 40% of the value of global trade.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker affirmed the move by phone. The finalized pact, which the parties aim to sign next summer at the earliest and have take effect in 2019, would also cover about 30% of the world's gross domestic product.

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