20 Mar '17, 12am

Japan's Shinzo Abe, Germany's Angela Merkel defend free trade

BERLIN (AFP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued a staunch joint defence of free trade on Sunday (March 19), as the United States pushes towards greater protectionism. "We want free and open markets," Merkel said in a speech in Hanover, a day before the world's biggest computer trade fair, CeBIT, kicks off in the central German city. The event is partnered with Japan this year. "In these times of inter-connectedness, we want to link together our societies and work together in an equitable way. That's what free trade is about," she said. She made no direct reference to US President Donald Trump, elected on a protectionist "America First" platform promising to slash trade deficits, but noted that the European Union and Japan are negotiating a free trade deal that may be reached this year. "At a time when we are arguing a lot over fr...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/japans-shinzo-ab...

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