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Japan-EU trade pact stops at auto, dairy tariffs

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Staff Writer | July 3, 2017
Fumio Kishida
Trade talks   There has been significant progress but...

After two days of high-level talks, a broad agreement on free trade envisioned by Japan and the European Union remained out of reach as differences lingered over tariffs on European dairy and farm products, and other sensitive issues.

“There has been significant progress but important issues that the two sides need to work on still remain,” Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters after meeting with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom in Tokyo.

With Japanese and EU negotiators seeking to reach a broad agreement before their leaders meet this week, Kishida said he intends to visit Brussels for “final confirmation” in hopes of sealing the deal ahead of the meeting.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yuji Yamamoto, who joined the Kishida-Malmstrom talks along with EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Phil Hogan, echoed Kishida’s views.

EU demands regarding farm and dairy products are so tough that they are “not yet at the level Japan can accept,” Yamamoto told reporters after Saturday’s meetings, adding he may go to Brussels with Kishida to further advance negotiations.

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