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Abe, Merkel take stand against protectionism

The two leaders aim to wrap up an economic partnership agreement soon

HANNOVER, Germany -- The Japanese and German leaders doubled down on their support for free trade at a summit here Monday as they struggled to stem the rising tide of protectionism fueled by American policy under President Donald Trump.

In the face of an inward-looking U.S. and the British vote to leave the European Union, the meeting took on a different tone from the past 13 meetings between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. As the two longest-serving incumbent leaders in the Group of Seven economies, they hold the key to uniting the bloc and the larger Group of 20.

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