Britain inks post-Brexit trade deal with Japan

Charles Michel

UK says ready to restart Brexit talks later this week

The deal also played an influential role in unlocking the ongoing trade negotiations with the European Union, which could be successfully concluded in as little as two to three weeks.

Appearing with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, Truss called the agreement a "landmark" as the first major trade deal for Britain since it returned as an independent trading nation. London has said the pact will boost trade with Japan by 15 billion pounds ($19.5 billion; €16.5 billion) annually and make it easier for British companies to do business in Japan.

The UK government has noted with interest the European Union (EU) Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier's significant comments on the issues behind current difficulties in trade talks, PM Boris Johnson's spokesman said on Wednesday, as reported by Reuters.

Mr. Motegi said after the signing that he had agreed with Truss to work together so that the deal will come into force on January 1, 2021.

"The UK wants access to our single market, while at the same time, being able to diverge from our standards and regulations, when it suits them", he complained.

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Speaking to French Television, Mr Beaune said: 'We thought the end of October was the final deadline.

The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which was agreed in principle last month, marks Britain's first deal with a major economy since Brexit.

Financial services are Britain's biggest export to Japan, now at 28%.

Britain said the new deal meant 99% of its exports to Japan would be tariff-free.

According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, the nation already exports about 1.5 trillion yen ($14 billion) of goods to Britain, mostly automobiles, auto parts and other machinery, while importing almost one trillion yen ($9.5 billion) worth of British goods, including pharmaceuticals, medical products and cars.

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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 development comes days after Johnson threatened to walk away from the talks unless he got clarity that an agreement can be reached.

The deal must still be approved by the parliaments of both countries.

Time is short to reach an agreement before the end of the transition period on December 31.

"The outlook, if you were to look at the media presentation of these issues from a London perspective and coming from London and the United Kingdom government, you would think that there's no chance of agreement at all", Mr Hogan said.

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