United Kingdom and Japan finalise first trade deal, CPTPP membership ahead

Andrew Cummings
October 25, 2020

"Every day counts", the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier told reporters as he re-started face-to-face negotiations with United Kingdom counterpart David Frost in London on Thursday (22 October).

UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss called it a "ground-breaking, British-shaped deal".

"We've been clear in our ambitions for the negotiations".

Mr Johnson has said that if there is no agreement, Britain will start trading with the bloc on "Australian terms" - shorthand for World Trade Organisation rules.

Last week's EU summit had always been billed as the deadline to finalise an agreement but officials now give mid-November as the latest deadline for agreeing a deal and allowing enough time for it to be ratified by the 27 EU member states and the European Parliament.


The chief negotiators of Britain and the European Union, Michel Barnier and David Frost, meet on Friday for intensive negotiations.

The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was approved in principle on September 11 but was signed on Friday in the Japanese capital.

After some progress on competition guarantees including state aid rules, the hardest issue remains fish: Johnson has insisted on taking back control over its waters while the European Union wants access to the fishing waters.

Motegi added he had "high hopes" that a deal would be struck between the United Kingdom and EU. "What we have now, after all sorts of politics being played, is a process that is back on track", Simon Coveney said, adding, however, that both sides remained "miles apart" on fishing. But, this deal with Japan does have other benefits for Britain's role in Asia.

"Fish is now the thing to tackle".


The paper said the British team would travel to Brussels on Thursday for more talks and that next Saturday had effectively become the deadline to decide whether the two sides could reach a deal.

Critics pointed out that the trade deal with Japan will increase U.K. GDP by only 0.07%.

For French fishermen, British waters are crucial and being locked out would cause trouble for French President Emmanuel Macron.

It eventually joined in 1973, but voted to leave by 52 to 48 percent on June 23, 2016.

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.


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