Japan-EU summit to discuss stalled free trade deal29 may 2015, 14:43
Japan and the European Union will hold summit talks later Friday, with a long-stalled Free Trade Agreement expected to be on the agenda, AFP reports.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk in the latest annual get-together between the leaders of the two big trading partners.
Japan and the European Union have agreed to work towards a multi-billion-euro free trade deal linking the world's third biggest economy to the bloc of 28 member states -- the world's largest market.
But negotiations have been stymied over the thorny issue of tariffs and trade barriers, although Tokyo has said it would like to reach a basic accord this year.
The EU wants progress on non-tariff barriers in certain Japanese markets, while a key issue for Tokyo is that Brussels dismantle customs duties on Japanese automobiles -- a sensitive topic for big car producer and exporter Germany.
Japan is also involved in talks over a Pacific-wide free trade deal, called the TPP, which is currently bogged down in the domestic politics of the United States, its chief proponent.
The leaders of Japan and the EU are also expected to confirm continuing close cooperation over major global issues such as Ukraine, where pro-Russian forces are waging an insurgency in the country's east.
Abe reportedly plans to visit Kiev and meet Ukraine's pro-Western President Petro Poroshenko next month when he goes to the Group of Seven summit in Germany.
The Japan-EU Summit comes also as finance ministers from the G7 leading industrialised nations discuss the possibility of Greece quitting the eurozone.