UK, Japan sign $20 billion free trade agreement

LONDON: The UK and Japan have signed a free trade agreement (FTA) in Tokyo, marking Britain’s first major international business deal since Brexit. The British government said it expects a $19.9 billion economic boost from the agreement over the next 15 years.
The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was approved in principle on September 11 but was signed on Friday in the Japanese capital. It is set to come into effect on January 1 next year. The UK’s International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, described the move as a “landmark moment for Britain”, adding “… it shows what we (UK) can do as an independent trading nation”.
The British government claims the deal goes beyond the existing one Japan already has with the EU, and follows months of negotiations between the two sides. Tech will be a particular focus of the partnership including digital trade and data.
Other beneficiaries will include financial services and the food and drink sector. Lower tariffs are expected on products like British pork and salmon and Japanese cars and electronics. In total, the UK government expects British businesses to enjoy tariff-free trade on 99 percent of exports to the Asian country. The agreement will be seen as a major victory for UK at a time when it’s embroiled in tough and often fraught trade negotiations with the EU. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also targeting agreements with the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
Partly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, those plans have barely got off the ground. An economically and symbolically significant deal with the U.S. looks like it has been pushed into next year. For the government in Westminster, the focus now has to be on securing some form of agreement with the EU, its closest trading partner and where 43 percent of its exports currently go.
–The Daily Mail-CGTN
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