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EU woos new trade partners in 'panda diplomacy'

Wednesday, July 05, 2017 - 01:47

Japan is expected to seal a free trade deal with the EU on Thursday ahead of the G20 summit. As David Pollard reports, it will send a signal of commitment to free trade by two of the world's biggest economies after President Trump has thrown U.S. commitments into doubt.

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Not everyone likes globalisation .... Though China's new loan to Berlin zoo don't seem to mind it .... And Germany and the EU are sending out strong signals they still want it - with or without Donald Trump and the US. Angela Merkel plays host to the Chinese president - agreeing to cooperate on aerospace - and crucially, trade. In Brussels, EU and Japanese officials are already ahead - as they move towards a full free trade deal. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FIDELITY INTERNATIONAL, INVESTMENT DIRECTOR, TOM STEVENSON, SAYING: What we're seeing ... is really a very heavy message aimed at President Trump that the world of protectionism which he envisages is not acceptable to the rest of the world. For the EU, it means striking agreements in potentially tricky markets - like Japanese cars and European farm produce. But the desire to compromise does appear to be there. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN BUSINESS LOBBY GROUP BUSINESSEUROPE DIRECTOR, LUISA SANTOS, SAYING: It is important if the EU and Japan conclude this agreement just before the G20 Summit. It will be an important political sign also for other economies that trade is good. For a German leader who sees her country as a beacon of human rights, it may also mean compromise. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FIDELITY INTERNATIONAL, INVESTMENT DIRECTOR, TOM STEVENSON, SAYING: Angela Merkel is very keen to keep open those those avenues to China and perhaps she's having to swallow things which he's less comfortable with in having those discussions with President Xi. After a new missile test on the Korean peninsula this week - there are other global challenges too where the EU could do with a helping Chinese hand. Though what might win all sides over in the end is the bare necessities .... A deal between Japan and the EU could boost joint trade by a third, say officials. Merkel, in the meantime, keen for a quick signing of an investment treaty that could also turn into a full-blown free trade agreement.

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EU woos new trade partners in 'panda diplomacy'

Wednesday, July 05, 2017 - 01:47