Japan, Germany pledge to maintain free trade

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The leaders of Germany and Japan said Monday they will try to minimize the global economic impact from Britain’s upcoming departure from the European Union and pledged to defend free trade in the face of rising protectionism.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Britain to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

Last Friday, Japan and the EU ushered in a landmark trade deal that creates one of the world’s largest free trade areas. Combined, the two sides account for almost a third of the world’s economy.

Abe said Japan and Germany would work together to keep the global economy growing.

“In order to do so, we need to minimize the impact on the global economy from Brexit,” Abe said at a joint news conference following their meeting. “We definitely hope (for Britain) to avoid a no-deal Brexit.”

Abe told Merkel that their countries’ commitment and leadership in defending free trade is extremely important.

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