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EU and Japanese leaders signed two landmark agreements to increase their cooperation at the 25th EU-Japan summit.
The Council discussed Libya following the visit by the High Representative Federica Mogherini to the country on 14 July, where she inaugurated the premises of the European Union Delegation in Tripoli.
The EU and China agreed to further develop the EU-China strategic partnership at the 20th EU-China summit. Leaders expressed their joint support for rules-based trade and reaffirmed their joint engagement to reform the World Trade Organisation.
The NATO summit was an opportunity to follow up on EU-NATO cooperation. The EU and NATO signed a new joint declaration just ahead of the summit on 10 July 2018.
The Council adopted conclusions on the EU's enlargement policy and the stabilisation and association process. It also adopted without discussion updated aviation safety rules, including a revised mandate for the European Aviation Safety Agency and the first ever EU-wide rules for civil drones.
The annual report on Trade and Investment Barriers shows that the European Commission has eliminated the highest number ever of trade barriers faced by EU companies doing business abroad. European exporters reported a major increase in protectionism in 2017.
The Council adopted conclusions on security and defence. It also adopted a decision setting out governance rules for projects undertaken under PESCO, and approved the overarching high-level part of the military requirements for military mobility within and beyond the EU.
In the capital of New Zealand, Wellington, Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström and New Zealand's Minister for Trade David Parker officially launched talks for a comprehensive and ambitious trade agreement.
Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström together with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Trade Minister of Australia Steven Ciobo officially launched negotiations for a comprehensive and ambitious trade agreement between the EU and Australia in the Australian capital of Canberra.
For the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the European Commission is proposing to increase the external action budget to €123 billion, to significantly simplify its structure, and make it much more flexible and effective to address today's global challenges.
Leaders of the G7 committed to fight protectionism and to defend the rules-based international trading system. G7 leaders called for the modernisation of the World Trade Organisation. They also stressed the need to avoid excess capacity in sectors such as aluminium and high technology.
The US announced that starting on 1 June 2018 it will impose additional duties of 25 % and 10 % respectively on imports of steel and aluminium from the EU.
The EU could protect itself better against unfairly cheap imports and combat environmental or social dumping more effectively, under a law backed by MEPs.
The Foreign Affairs Council held a debate on Iran, in particular the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), following the US withdrawal from the agreement as announced on 8 May.
The Council authorised the Commission to open trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. It also adopted conclusions on the negotiation and conclusion of EU trade agreements.