Liz Truss announces UK and Japan free trade agreement marking Britain’s first major deal after Brexit
A free trade agreement between the UK and Japan has been secured in principle.
The International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said it is Britain’s first major deal as an independent trading nation and it will increase commerce with Japan by an estimated £15.2 billion.
The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was agreed in principle by Truss and Japan’s foreign minister, Motegi Toshimitsu, in a video call on Friday.
Truss said: “This is a historic moment for the UK and Japan as our first major post-Brexit trade deal.
“The agreement we have negotiated – in record time and in challenging circumstances – goes far beyond the existing EU deal, as it secures new wins for British businesses in our great manufacturing, food and drink, and tech industries.”
“From our automotive workers in Wales to our shoemakers in the North of England, this deal will help build back better as we create new opportunities for people throughout the whole of the UK and help level up our country.
“Strategically, the deal is an important step towards joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership and placing Britain at the centre of a network of modern free trade agreements with like-minded friends and allies.”
The agreement is a major milestone for the UK. Talks had been fraught as both sides fought over issues like tariffs on Stilton cheese.
Talks began earlier in the summer with around 100 negotiators from the UK side taking part in negotiations by holding video conferences with their Japanese counterparts every day.
UK trade with Japan was worth more than £30 billion last year, with 9,500 companies exporting goods to the Asian country, according to Government figures.