Japan’s Abe Backs French Defense of Global Trading System

(Bloomberg) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to work together to defend the global trading system at a meeting in Paris.

“We will show a common front” on free trade, innovation and climate issues, the two said in a joint statement. “We have the same confidence in rebuilding the global multilateral system,” Macron added, insisting that the market access should be “open, balanced and fair.”

The two leaders have a chance to set the international agenda this year with France chairing the Group of Seven and Japan hosting G-20 meetings. Yet their defense of the current trade system may fuel tensions with the U.S., where President Donald Trump says his country has been held back by trade deals that give too many benefits to trading partners such as China and Mexico.

Their talks at the Elysee palace in Paris Tuesday will also include North Korea, their military cooperation in the Indian and Pacific oceans and bilateral issues such a nuclear energy cooperation. Neither side gave any indication that they will discuss the alliance between car makers Nissan and Renault, which was upended by the arrest last year of Renault’s then Chairman Carlos Ghosn.

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