UK-Japan trade talks make progress, both sides want deal by end-2020, says UK minister

British trade minister Liz Truss attends a joint video conference with Japan's Minister for Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi at the Department for International Trade, in London June 9, 2020. ― Handout via Reuters
British trade minister Liz Truss attends a joint video conference with Japan's Minister for Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi at the Department for International Trade, in London June 9, 2020. ― Handout via Reuters

LONDON, Aug 7 ― Britain and Japan made progress towards a comprehensive free trade deal and are committed to getting a deal in place by the end of this year, trade minister Liz Truss said yesterday.

Japanese foreign minister Motegi Toshimitsu is in London this week meeting senior ministers as the two countries try to tie up a deal before Britain leaves the European Union and no longer benefits from an existing EU-Japan deal.

“We’ve made further progress towards a comprehensive deal with a like-minded democracy and long-standing ally, and we share a commitment to getting a deal in place by the end of 2020,” Truss said in a statement.

Japan, the world's third largest economy, has for decades been a large foreign investor in British industry, particularly in consumer electronics and car manufacturing. The total value of bilateral trade in 2019 was £31.6 billion (RM173.8 billion) according to British data.

Britain is seeking a deal that uses the 2019 EU-Japan agreement as its template, and seeks to improve on its terms in strategic areas.

British analysis estimated that, in the long run, the trade deal could  increase annual trade flows between  both countries by £15.2 billion and increase the size of the UK economy by £1.5 billion. ― Reuters

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