Japan and UK 'close to a free trade deal'

Legislation | | MIC Customs Solutions |

The end of August could mark a turning point for British and Japanese relations.

Japan and the UK could have a free trade deal in place as early as the end of this month, new reports suggest.

Japan's foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi has met with Britain's international trade secretary Liz Truss and foreign secretary Dominic Raab to hold talks on what would be the biggest trade agreement yet for the British government outside the European Union.

The two sides said they are "working hard", with Ms Truss in particular pointing towards progress in the coming weeks.

Although Mr Motegi told reporters he would "like to refrain" from providing details, it's thought a deal will provide tariff-free exports on products like bacon and leather items for the UK, as well as cheaper car parts and electronics imports for Japan.

It has also been suggested that the UK would like wider access to Japan's agricultural market and is keen to see tariff-free volume limits for selected commodities, although it is not yet clear if this will be possible.

"The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement will forge stronger ties between two democratic island nations with a shared commitment to free and fair trade," Ms Truss said in a statement.

Japan already has a trade deal in place with the EU, which came into force in February 2019 and took five years to negotiate.