UK Reaches Agreement With Japan on First Post-Brexit Trade Deal

Andrew Cummings
September 14, 2020

The UK-Japan comprehensive economic partnership agreement was agreed in principle on a video call between Britain's International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Japan's Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu.

Europe and Britain's vehicle industries called on Monday on the two sides to urgently clinch a free trade agreement, warning that a disorderly Brexit would cost the sector 110 billion euros ($130 billion) in lost trade over the next five years.

The government announced that it has secured a free trade agreement with Japan, marking the UK's first major trade deal as an independent trading nation, which it claims will increase trade with country by an estimated £15.2 billion.

Skeptics say the deal with Japan is little different from the one already in place via the U.K.'s former membership in the EU.

Skeptics say no amount of such trade deals can mitigate for the losses Britain would suffer in the event of a 'no-deal' outcome with the European Union, given that trade with the 27-nation bloc accounts for around half the country's total.

The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement could also benefit the nearly 1,700 businesses across the North East, North West and Yorkshire that exported to the country previous year and help more businesses in the area sell their goods there for the first time.

Motegi said the talks had been hard "but we managed to reach an agreement in principle with extraordinary speed, in just three months".

Iain Young, sales director at AVID Technologies, said: "Japan is not now a market we export to, but it is a market we are very interested in developing".

"As the world's largest net importer of food and drink, this deal with Japan improves our existing terms of trade and offers significant new growth opportunities for quality United Kingdom manufacturing". The Government said: "We have negotiated a deal that sees tariffs fall on pork, beef, salmon and a range of other agricultural exports".

Japanese auto manufacturers including Nissan will enjoy reduced tariffs on parts coming into the United Kingdom and streamlined regulatory procedures, according to the statement.

ProtecX Medical, a leading manufacturer and supplier of personal radiation protection products, has been experiencing success in the Japanese market since starting exporting its goods to the country in the early 2000s.

Britain and Japan came close to securing the deal last month, but failed to wrap up negotiations, with British media reporting that some aspects of the agriculture sector were still up for debate. "It's not a compensation for what you're giving up in Europe", he told CNN Business.

Trade between Britain and Japan was valued at more than £39 billion past year, and Japan is Britain's 11th-largest export market.

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