EU, Japan to sign massive trade deal as U.S. puts up barriers

Europe seeks talks with Trump over auto tariffs, report says

In this November 20, 2014 photo, bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau wine are displayed in a wine store at Issy Les Moulineaux, on the outskirts of Paris.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will visit President TrumpDonald John TrumpShocking summit with Putin caps off Trump's turbulent Europe trip GOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Trump stuns the world at Putin summit MORE at the White House next week, following the USA leader's blistering criticism of critical North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and the European Union during a week-long trip to Europe. It covers a third of the global economy and markets of more than 600 million people.

The agreement was largely reached late a year ago. More than 200 people died from flooding and landslides. But they will bring Japanese consumers lower prices for European wines, pork, handbags and pharmaceuticals. Japanese machinery parts, tea and fish will get cheaper for Europe.

Juncker will likely signal the EU's willingness to consider a so-called plurilateral sectoral deal to reduce vehicle tariffs between the two sides as well as other major car-exporting countries, said one of the officials, who asked not to be identified because preparations for the meeting are ongoing. The difference reflects exceptions on such products as rice, which enjoys strong political protection from imports in Japan.

The major step toward liberalizing trade has been discussed since 2013.

EU, Japan to sign massive trade deal as U.S. puts up barriers
EU, Japan to sign massive trade deal as U.S. puts up barriers

The EU isn't allowed under global rules to reduce its 10 percent tariff on American cars unless it either does so for WTO members as a whole or reaches a bilateral accord with the US that covers "substantially all" two-way trade. That follows an earlier move by Washington to impose 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods. Juncker is seeking to tamp down the brewing conflict a month after the 28-nation bloc imposed levies on 2.8 billion euros ($3.3 billion) of American imports due to the metal tariffs.

The EU will use Juncker's meeting to work out how to proceed, with member states divided, according to the other official. Alternately, the European Union and USA could lower duties, which would be offered to all other WTO partners, she said.

Japan praised the deal with the European Union as coming from Abe's "Abenomics" policies, created to wrest the economy out of stagnation despite a shrinking population and cautious spending. Japan's growth remains heavily dependent on exports.

By strengthening ties with the EU, Japan hopes to vitalize mutual direct investment, fight other global trends toward protectionism and enhance the stature of Japanese brands, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The imported wine and cheese could hurt sales by Japanese wineries and dairies, but Japanese consumers have historically coveted such European products.

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