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Japan’s Shinzo Abe welcomes French President Emmanuel Macron for bilateral talks

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Japan’s Shinzo Abe welcomes French President Emmanuel Macron for bilateral talks

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Photo: Getty

French President Emmanuel Macron will begin two days of bilateral talks today with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ahead of a G20 summit in Osaka on Friday and Saturday.

The two leaders have met six times in just two years—most recently in April. This frequent collaboration attests to strong Japanese-EU ties—the two sides having created the world’s largest free trade zone back in February.

Relations hit a snag in November when former Nissan and Renault Chairman Carlos Ghosn, a French national, was arrested in Japan on charges of financial misconduct. The French government holds a 15% stake in Renault, which entered into a special partnership with Nissan in 1999 that saw both automakers gain significant shares in each other’s firm. After Mr Ghosn’s arrest, Renault opened Paris-backed talks on a potential merger with Fiat-Chrysler without first consulting Nissan, prolonging the spat.

The Renault-Nissan partnership will top the agenda today, with expectations that PM Abe and President Macron will work to patch up the lacerated relationship. Successfully doing so could potentially lay the groundwork for even stronger collaboration in the auto sector, possible thanks to the Japan-EU trade deal that eliminated all auto tariffs between the two countries.

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