UK reaches first major post-Brexit free trade deal with Japan

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Britain and Japan on Friday secured a free trade agreement, which is Britain’s first major trade deal as an independent trading nation after Brexit, the British government said Friday.

According to the British Department for International Trade (DIT), this deal means 99 percent of exports to Japan will be tariff-free and is expected to increase bilateral trade by 15.2 billion pounds (about 19.5 billion U.S. dollars).

The DIT said the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was agreed in principle by Britain’s International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Japan’s Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu.

The agreement is also an important step for Britain towards joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), it noted.

Regarding reaching this deal as a “historic moment for the UK and Japan”, Truss said the deal “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.”

“Business will help support the Government in its efforts to secure more trade deals around the world and promote their benefits to communities. The Japan deal can be the first of many,” said Director General of the Confederation of British Industry Carolyn Fairbairn.

Britain and Japan launched free trade negotiations in June. The agreement came after trade talks between Britain and the European Union (EU) had suffered a major setback.

“Whilst this agreement is undoubtedly cause for celebration, securing a Free Trade Agreement with the EU remains critical to the future of businesses in the UK,” said British Chambers of Commerce Director General Adam Marshall.

“We urge Ministers to redouble their efforts to reach a comprehensive partnership with our largest trading partner at a crucial time in the negotiations,” he said.

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