Japan, Bulgaria agree to boost cooperation on Japan-EU free trade deal

  • Japan, Bulgaria agree to boost cooperation on Japan-EU free trade deal

Japan, Bulgaria agree to boost cooperation on Japan-EU free trade deal

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis said after meeting in Riga, Latvia's capital, that information technology, transportation and medicine are areas where Japan sees the most trade potential in the Baltic countries.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe listens during the meeting with Lithuania's Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis at the government's headquarters in Vilnius, Lithuania, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018.

"We will put our whole will and assiduousness during our EU Presidency term to speed up to the maximum the process of concluding the negotiations (on the economic deal) between the European Union and Japan because this is extremely important for Bulgarian business also", Borisov said. Japan is keen to beef up its presence in Eastern Europe as China bolsters its footprint there. He was also in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and after Bulgaria will visit Serbia and Romania.

Borisov said options would be found for Japanese companies to implement large infrastructure projects in Bulgaria and across the Western Balkans.

Abe also called for a swift ratification of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, a trade deal that was agreed to last month, but still needs support from EU member countries.

"Japan wants to cooperate closely with Lithuania on worldwide issues including the North Korean situation", Abe was quoted by a Japanese official as telling Skvernelis in their meeting in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius.

He met with his Bulgarian counterpart Borisov as the country takes on the rotating European Union presidency for the next six months.

Borissov said Bulgaria strongly opposes the North's nuclear and ballistic missile development programs. "We believe firmly that all problems should be resolved on the negotiating table", Borisov told reporters.

The leaders concurred on the need to maximize pressure on North Korea to force the country to change its policies.

"We would like to emphasize that this threat is an imminent threat, an unprecedented imminent threat not only to Japan but also to the worldwide community, now that the missiles can reach this region of Europe", he said.