Brexit: UK and Japan to sign £15.2bn free trade agreement in Tokyo

The UK and Japan will sign a free trade agreement on Friday.

The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which was agreed in principle last month, marks Britain’s first post-Brexit trade deal.

The government claim the agreement will boost trade with Japan by £15.2bn over the next 15 years – and UK businesses will enjoy tariff-free trade on 99% of exports to the country.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss had struck the deal with Japan’s foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi on a video call on 11 September.

They will sign the agreement – hailed by Ms Truss as a “landmark moment for Britain” – in Tokyo on Friday.

“At its heart, this deal is about creating opportunity and prosperity for all parts of our United Kingdom and driving the economic growth we need to overcome the challenges of coronavirus,” Ms Truss said.

The government said the deal would support UK car and rail manufacturing jobs, lower tariffs on products like pork, beef and salmon, and British consumers would get access to cheaper, high-quality Japanese goods.

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director general, said: “The signing of the UK’s first independent trade agreement is a milestone for our economy and will be welcomed by businesses in many sectors.

“This deal has the potential to support jobs across the country through lifting British farming exports and supporting our manufacturing and services sectors. Consumers will also benefit through greater choice.”

:: Subscribe to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

Government analysis found that a deal with Japan would boost the UK’s GDP by around 0.07% over 15 years and increase UK workers’ wages by £800m in the long run.

Once signed, the government will publish a full report on the agreement, including any significant differences or enhancements.

Brexit talks between Britain and the European Union are set to resume after stalling last week when Downing Street insisted there was no point in resuming discussions unless there was a change in stance from the EU.

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has welcomed the reopening of talks and told reporters in London that he wanted to make “every day count”.

Allie Renison, senior policy advisor at the Institute of Directors, said: “This standalone trade deal [with Japan] could be the cherry on top if the UK manages to land an EU deal as we exit the transition period.”

Source: Read Full Article