UK and Japan nearing trade deal
The UK and Japan are aiming to have the outline of a post-Brexit trade deal agreed by the end of August following face-to-face talks in London last week.
International trade secretary Liz Truss said that the negotiating process with Japan had been both positive and productive thus far, and there was now a “consensus” on extending Japan’s existing trading standards with the EU regarding digital and financial services.
Meanwhile, Japan’s foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi said there was "substantial" agreement between both parties in most areas of concern.
Japan is one of the largest foreign direct investors in the UK, with government figures indicating that UK-Japanese trade was worth £31.4 billion last year.
The deal could increase the UK’s current trade with Japan by around £15 billion per year, with both parties keen for an agreement to be in place before the end of 2020 when the post-Brexit transition period lapses.
It is likely to be akin to the Japanese deal made with the EU in 2019 across various areas such as the automotive sector and luxury goods industry, but the UK government is known to favour greater access in services and e-commerce.
Truss said: "We have reached consensus on the major elements of a deal - including ambitious provisions in areas like digital, data and financial services that go significantly beyond the EU-Japan deal.
"Our shared aim is to reach a formal agreement in principle by the end of August."
The absence of a trade deal would see UK-Japanese trade default to World Trade Organization terms, with tariffs and other trade barriers then coming into play.
Motegi told the media that both parties were pursuing the outline of an agreement by the end of the month and had agreed to accelerate talks.
The UK has been clear that its “ambitious” pursuit of an agreement must culminate in a deal that will ultimately work for all constituent countries.