United Kingdom strikes first major post-Brexit free trade deal with Japan

In post-Brexit first, UK signs 'historic' trade deal with Japan

The UK has secured its first major post-Brexit trade deal after signing an agreement with Japan which will boost trade by an estimated £15 billion.

The UK's new trade deal with Japan commits it to tougher restrictions on state aid than the ones it is now offering the European Union in the Brexit talks, potentially undermining its negotiating position with Brussels.

BCC director General Adam Marshall said: "Chambers of Commerce stand ready to work with government to ensure that the benefits of this agreement are felt by businesses on the ground".

The statement warns that vehicles will be subject to a 10-percent tariff if the Brexit transition period ends without a free trade deal.

Under the agreement, nearly all exports to Japan (99%) will benefit from tariff-free trade, and there will be more protection for goods with geographical indications, including Yorkshire Wensleydale and Welsh lamb.

Bilateral trade is now conducted under the EU-Japan deal that came into effect a year ago, but that agreement will no longer apply to Britain from December 31.

Liz Truss agreed the deal in principle on Friday morning.

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The British government announced on Friday that the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was agreed in principle during a video call between the UK's International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Japan's Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu.

'The shock of tariffs and other trade barriers would compound the damage already dealt by a global pandemic and recession, putting businesses and livelihoods at risk.

Negotiations on the UK-Japan trade deal started earlier this summer, as the UK set its long term goal to become a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. Trade representatives there forecast the agreement should get clearance by January.

The intervention from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA), along with 21 national associations, including the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says an urgent deal is needed that delivers zero tariffs and avoids different regulations so there is no second economic hit to the sector. This government has committed to publishing updated figures in due course now that we have a final Agreement with tangible benefits for the UK.

The UK was keen to demonstrate that it can score added benefits from going it alone, while Tokyo was minded to show that it was not going to grant a more favourable deal to a single country than to a large trading bloc such as the EU.

This forms a pathway to further market access under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which is meant to give United Kingdom businesses "a gateway to the Asia-Pacific region and help to increase the resilience and diversity of our supply chains".

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