BERLIN, April 5 A senior ally of German
Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed Japan on Wednesday to quickly
seal a trade deal with the European Union, especially in light
of protectionist signals coming from U.S. President Donald
Volker Kauder, head of Merkel's conservative parliamentary
group, said he was encouraged by his talks with Japanese
government and opposition officials during a visit to Tokyo.
"Talks about a free trade deal between the EU and Japan must
be completed fast. In view of the isolationist policies of U.S.
President Trump, the time for hesitation is gone," Kauder said
in a statement after his meetings in Japan.
Trump has worried countries like Germany with talk of
imposing import taxes. The Group of 20 powers even failed to
agree on a commitment to keep global trade free and open at a
meeting in Germany last month, due to U.S. opposition.
He added that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and
opposition parties also viewed that matter in the same way.
"I have the impression that the Japanese side is now trying
to get a quick deal after years with no breakthrough but rather
a standstill in the talks," he said, adding Abe had stressed it
would send an important signal amid growing protectionism.
He said both sides should try to resolve the outstanding
issues, and that meant in Japan, convincing farmers and also
warned that China was ready to try to impose its own agenda on
free trade if the United States stepped away from that role.
"There is a risk that China will try to push through its
ideas about free trade rules. The EU, Germany and Japan should
not stand by and watch this happen but make their standards a
benchmark for global trade," said Kauder.
(Writing by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Alison Williams)