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Germany expresses readiness to work with Japan on free trade and WTO reform

Christian Fernsby |
Germany is ready to cooperate with Japan on promoting free trade and reforming the World Trade Organization, Germany’s economic minister, Peter Altmaier, said in a recent written interview with Jiji Press.

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Altmaier made the statement in the lead-up to a Group of 20 ministerial meeting on trade and digital economy in the city of Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, which will take place early next month.

In the interview, Altmaier stressed that Japan is a close partner with his country.

He said that as free trade benefits all countries, Germany will make every effort to lower trade tariffs and strengthen the WTO.

Japan and the European Union have sent a message against protectionism by concluding an economic partnership agreement, the minister noted.

Both Japan and the EU are facing tough trade negotiations with the United States under President Donald Trump. While the EU aims to negotiate with the United States for the mutual abolition of tariffs on industrial products, the U.S. side is poised to demand that the EU open up its agricultural markets.

The Trump administration is expected to seek concessions from the EU and others by threatening to impose higher tariffs on imported vehicles.

The German minister claimed that raising automotive tariffs would not serve U.S. interests, saying many U.S. lawmakers and industry stakeholders consider it the wrong path.

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