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Japan’s Abe wants to cooperate with the EU and US on free trade

A freighter is anchored at the international container pier at Tokyo port on February 8, 2017.
Kazuhiro Nogi | AFP | Getty Images
A freighter is anchored at the international container pier at Tokyo port on February 8, 2017.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan wants to work together with Europe and the U.S. on free trade, despite the increasingly protectionist views being voiced in both regions.

"I find it important for Japan and the EU to cooperate with the United States as well to show to the world the flag of free trade as a model," Abe told reporters before a meeting with European Union leaders in Brussels.

His remarks come after finance ministers of the G-20 countries failed to agree on a common statement promising to resist "all forms of protectionism." In a meeting last weekend, the US administration did not want to glue itself to free trade, dropping the usual G-20 pledge from its communication.

However, European and Japanese officials seem ready to oppose the protectionist views from President Donald Trump.

During the meeting on Tuesday, the EU and Japan reviewed the progress on a bilateral trade deal and reaffirmed they want to conclude it as fast as possible.

"Let me assure you that the European Union is fully committed to concluding the negotiations for both agreements very soon and together," President Donald Tusk of the European Council told his Japanese counterpart.

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