European Council President Donald Tusk (L), Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker hold a joint press conference after the EU - Japan Summit in Brussels last July. Photo: Anadolu Agency / Dursun Aydemir

Japan and the European Union have reached an agreement on a free trade accord, Deutsche Welle reported Japanese PM Shinzo Abe as saying Friday, citing Kyodo news agency.

A joint statement from European Commission chief Jean Claude Juncker and Abe said “we welcome the finalization of the negotiations of the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and Japan.”

Outlines of the accord, which will open the EU to Japanese cars, and Japan to European cheese, had been agreed to in July.

Brussels reportedly said it is the biggest such deal it has ever negotiated.

Japan GDP revised up

The trade deal news comes as Japan’s third quarter GDP growth has been revised up to 2.5%. The better-than-expected growth marks the seventh straight quarter of growth for Japan – the longest stretch on record, according to Japan Times.

The 2.5% number was revised up from a preliminary reading of 1.4% and compares to an average market forecast of 1.5%.

Despite the steady growth, the biggest driver of the economy – consumer spending – has remained weak.