Japan, Germany to promote free trade amid rising protectionism
TOKYO, July 25 (Xinhua) -- Japan and Germany agreed on Wednesday to further promote free trade following the signing earlier this month of a free trade deal between Japan and the European Union (EU).
"The free trade deal sent a clear signal against protectionism," said visiting German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas during talks with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono here on Wednesday.
Kono, for his part, said that closer cooperation between Japan and Germany is now "more important than ever."
The two sides also agreed to enhance cooperation on a number of other issues such as climate change.
Later in the day, Maas also met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Japan and the EU signed a free trade agreement earlier this month, eliminating tariffs on the majority of their products amid rising international trade tensions.
The agreement will lead to the creation of one of the world's largest economic blocs and will constitute around 30 percent of global gross domestic product, according to economists' predictions.