The Lower House on Thursday cleared a bill to ratify a free trade agreement with the European Union, paving the way for its passage through the Upper House by year-end.
Both Japan and the European Union plan to complete their respective procedures by the end of the year, with an eye to having the pact come into force in February.
The agreement, signed in July, will create a free trade zone covering about a third of global gross domestic product, and will eliminate tariffs on most imports between Japan and the European Union. Japanese consumers will gain access to cheaper products such as cheese, wine and pork under the pact.
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