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

UK secures first post Brexit free trade agreement with Japan

The deal removes Britain's tariffs on Japanese cars in stages to zero in 2026, which is the same as in the Japan-EU trade agreement.

The UK has struck its first major post-Brexit trade pact after signing a deal with Japan that aims to boost trade between the countries by about £15bn.

Shadow worldwide trade secretary Emily Thornberry said: "Trade with Japan represented 2.21% of our global total last year, and under the best case scenario put forward by the Government, today's agreement will see that total increase by just 0.07 percentage points each year, simply maintaining the levels of growth seen since 2015, and preserving the forecast benefits of the current EU-Japan agreement".

She said it would bring "new wins" for British businesses in manufacturing, food and drink, and tech industries.

Motegi told reporters following the talks, "The deal will allow for the continuation of advantages that Japan has gained from the Japan-EU free trade deal and will secure continuity for Japanese companies' businesses".

The EU responded by threatening legal action if the government's proposals were not withdrawn.

"The agreement we have negotiated - in record time and in challenging circumstances - goes far beyond the existing European Union deal, as it secures new wins for British businesses in our great manufacturing, food and drink, and tech industries", said Britain's worldwide trade secretary, Liz Truss, who pointed to concessions on English sparkling wine and Wensleydale cheese.


Britain's Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders also joined the calls for the conclusion of a post-Brexit trade deal.

Mr Motegi said earlier this month that Japan is seeking to reach the agreement before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe steps down, which is expected to take place next Wednesday.

Britain had demanded a low-tariff import quota for some of its agricultural exports, including blue cheese, to Japan, but Tokyo remained reluctant about introducing such a preferential quota for London.

Carolyn Fairbairn, the director general of the Confederation of British Industry, welcomed the new partnership as a "breakthrough" moment, urging government and business to work together to "make the most" of it.

Japan is relatively a small market for us at the moment. If the deals don't materialise, British companies could face barriers to doing business in most of the foreign markets they serve starting next year. "It's a huge opportunity to secure new Japanese investment across a wider range of sectors and United Kingdom regions".

He said Japan was aiming for the deal - which would help Japanese manufacturers of train equipment and vehicle components - to come into force on January 1. UK-Japanese trade was worth more than £30 billion past year, according to the British government.

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