EU, Japan determined to deliver trade deal by end of 2017

Posted by DanielS on Friday, 30 June 2017 12:22.

Euractiv, 30 June 2017:

“Malmström in Tokyo to clinch trade deal in time for G20.”

The European Union and Japan said on Tuesday (21 March) they intend to complete talks for a free trade agreement with Japan by the end of the year.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker dispatched the EU’s top trade officials to Tokyo Thursday (29 June) for crucial talks to seal a long-awaited deal with Japan.

After four years of talks, the two sides are working toward signing a deal at a G20 meeting in Hamburg next week, but Juncker said further work was needed.

“There are still a few sticking points. I have therefore sent the European agriculture commissioner and the trade commissioner to Japan,” Juncker said.

Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan will arrive on Friday (30 June) for talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.

Clinching a deal would be a victory for free-trade advocates after US President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership this year, dealing a possibly fatal blow to the mooted 12-nation deal.

Juncker said he wanted the negotiations to be finished before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe holds talks with Juncker and EU President Donald Tusk in Brussels on July 6.

“The trade agreement with Japan, if it materialises, is important. And I am assuming that it will materialise,” Juncker said at a pre-G20 press conference with EU leaders in Berlin.



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Posted by Japan's among competing visions of Silk Road on Thu, 29 Jun 2017 13:50 | #

Reconnecting Asia, Mapping Continental Ambitions, “Competing Vsions”:

A geoeconomic contest is underway to shape Asia’s future. Regional powers are putting forward ambitious plans for building roads, railways, pipelines, and other hard infrastructure across the region. Drawing on official sources, CSIS experts developed the maps below to illustrate some of these competing visions. Each map captures, in broad strokes, the major infrastructure priorities of a leading actor. Collectively, these maps preview a competition as wide-ranging as the region itself. As this story unfolds, the collection below will be expanded and updated.


Announced in 2013, China’s “One Belt One Road” (OBOR) initiative drives across the Eurasian landmass in two grand sweeps: the ocean-based 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the overland Silk Road Economic Belt. As Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy effort, OBOR is striking for its opacity as well as its ambition. On the surface, it imagines a future Eurasia where all routes lead to Beijing. As an open-ended framework, however, the initiative is less clear. It combines new and older projects, covers an uncertain geographic scope, and includes efforts to strengthen hard infrastructure, soft infrastructure, and even cultural ties.


Prioritizing east-west connections, Japan’s vision stems from decades of investing in Southeast Asia, where existing infrastructure reflects the needs of Japanese supply chains, especially maintaining access to the sea. Japan is acting swiftly to defend this incumbent advantage, and has boosted funding to expand “high-quality and sustainable infrastructure” in the region through its Partnership for High Quality Infrastructure. Consistent with the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, Japan is backing a number of new land and maritime corridors that would increase connectivity between the Bay of Bengal and the South China Sea. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also expanded Japan’s diplomatic footprint, becoming the first sitting Japanese leader to visit all five countries of Central Asia.

 



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