UK agrees first major post-Brexit trade deal with Japan

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, Sept 11 — Britain todau said it had secured its first major post-Brexit trade agreement — a free trade deal with Japan — the day after bitter wranglings with the European Union.

The Department for International Trade said the deal will increase trade with Japan by some £15.2 billion (RM81 billion).

The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was agreed in principle by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Japan Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu during a video call today.   

It builds on the broad EU-Japan deal that came into effect last year, but which will no longer apply to Britain from December 31.

Britain left the EU in January but agreed a standstill transition until the end of the year — and is racing to strike both replica and new trade agreements before that date.

“This is a historic moment for the UK and Japan as our first major post-Brexit trade deal,” said Truss.

“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.”    

The deal was an “important step” towards joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, she added. 

Britain is locked in increasingly fractious talks with the EU over its future trading relationship, with Brussels on Thursday threatening legal action over contentious Brexit legislation that would violate the binding divorce treaty agreed last year. — AFP

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