Japan, UK agree on bilateral trade deal

EU intensifying preparedness for all post-Brexit scenarios - Barnier

Critics said while the deal may be of symbolic importance it would boost UK GDP by only 0.07%, a fraction of the trade that could be lost with the EU.

Britain's trade deficit with the bloc will anyway generate substantial net tariff revenues, which could be used to compensate United Kingdom exporters in sectors where tariffs are higher.

"It was a tough negotiation, but we have been able to reach a broad agreement in just three months", Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told a news conference Friday.

The deal, which has so far been agreed on only in principle and for which details are thin, will increase commerce with Japan by around $19 billion (U.S.), the British government said.

"At the same time, the European Union is intensifying its preparedness work to be ready for all scenarios on 1 January 2021", he said, referring to the date when Britain's post-Brexit transition period ends.

Our Business and Global Trade Correspondent Paul McNamara reports. But, the official said, given the short negotiation period, including additional tariff removals and specifics on digital trade was "a great achievement".

Worldwide trade secretary Liz Truss said the deal was a "historic moment".

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, in August past year. "Significant differences remain in areas of essential interest for the European Union".

The British government says that the Japan-U.K. trade pact is expected to boost trade with Japan by about £15 billion (¥2 trillion), but did not say when this figure would be realized, according to the Financial Times.


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan put the talks on a future trade deal in an even deeper rut.

Such a scenario would see tariffs and other impediments suddenly imposed on trade between Britain and the 27-member bloc.

"While maintaining the high levels of access to the British market under the Japan-EU EPA, we improved our access to the British market on train cars and some auto parts".

But talks on a new trade deal before the end of a status-quo transition arrangement in December have snagged, particularly on state aid rules and fishing. Despite the increase, the economy remains 11.7 per cent smaller than it was in February. Congress has to ratify all US trade deals.

The row erupted as the latest round of trade talks - also taking place in London - ended on Thursday with both sides acknowledging that "significant differences" remain.

Indeed, Britain seems to be strongly highlighting its post-Brexit ability to make its own deals.

And one business in Wilbury Way is set to be directly impacted by the new agreement.

It marks an "important step" toward joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, the government said.

The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was agreed in principle by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Japan's Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi on a video call on Friday.

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