TOKYO — Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis on Friday said he expects vital economic growth to result from the signing of a free trade agreement between Japan and the European Union, with similar talks between the bloc and the United States stalled.
“We are looking to expand cooperation (with Japan) in the IT sector. We have a lot to offer in terms of IT and new technologies,” Kucinskis told Kyodo News, adding he would like to see more investment by Japanese firms in Latvia.
Kucinskis met Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday as part of a visit with a Latvian business delegation that took place at the same time as Japanese and EU representatives finalized a broad trade agreement reached in July.
Kucinskis said the free trade deal with Japan is of particular importance to the 28-member European Union as negotiations with the United States on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership have been on ice since President Donald Trump took power in January.
“The future of the Latvian economy depends on external trade and we have to be an open economy. We, therefore, will do whatever we can in order to facilitate the speedy signing and ratification of the Japan-EU economic partnership agreement,” he said.
Japan and the European Union together account for around 30 percent of global economic output.