No 10 agrees to new round of Brexit trade talks in London

Andrew Cummings
October 23, 2020

The UK said 99 per cent of exports to Japan will be tariff-free under the deal, which will add 15.2 billion pounds (S$27 billion) to annual trade with the Asian nation.

Britain's International Trade Minister Liz Truss is in Tokyo to sign the deal with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, after it was agreed in principle by the pair last month during a video call.

Japan and the United Kingdom signed a post-Brexit bilateral free trade agreement Friday, paving the way for its implementation January 1 next year to ensure continuity in trade and investment beyond the end of London's transition period out of the European Union.

The deal covers sectors from food to textiles and tech and largely replicates the existing EU-Japan arrangement, which will no longer apply to Britain at the end of this year.

He also said Japan welcomes Britain's interest in joining the 11-member Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) free trade deal, and intends to provide necessary support.

Rules on e-commerce and financial services have become more ambitious than the Japan-EU pact, including the prohibition on governments requesting businesses to disclose algorithms used in artificial intelligence technology and encryption data.

Japan already exports about 1.5 trillion yen ($14 billion) of goods to Britain, mostly autos, auto parts and other machinery, while importing almost 1 trillion yen ($9.5 billion) worth from Britain, including pharmaceuticals, medical products and cars, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

Motegi said CEPA ensures continuity with the European Union deal, and adds new areas of cooperation, such as e-commerce and financial services.

Tariffs on Japanese cars will be removed gradually but won't be eliminated until 2026, the same as the terms of the deal Japan has with the EU.

The statement also said the United Kingdom government still wanted a deal for when a post-Brexit transition period ends on December 31, but hinted it would walk away from the negotiations.

The deal must still be approved by the parliaments of both countries.

Britain formally left the European Union as a political institution on January 31, four years after a referendum that saw voters decide to withdraw from the now-27-nation bloc.

In reiterating the EU's willingness to compromise, Barnier said a Brexit deal is still "within reach".

Other reports by iNewsToday