UK signs first post-Brexit trade deal with Japan

Photo: EPA Britain's Secretary for International Trade Liz Truss (L) during a video conference call with Japan's FM Motegi Toshimitsu, London, 11 September.

The UK secured its first major post-Brexit trade deal on Friday after signing an agreement with Japan just as discussions with the EU appeared to be on the verge of collapse, news wires reported.

The deal, which has so far only been agreed upon in principle and for which details are thin, will increase commerce with Japan by around £15bn ($19bn) and expands upon a recently signed deal between the EU and Japan, the UK said. “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,” Britain’s international trade secretary Liz Truss said.

London said the UK businesses would benefit from tariff-free trade on 99% of exports to Japan and that it would give British businesses a gateway to the Asia-Pacific region.

Skeptics say no amount of such trade deals can mitigate for the losses Britain would suffer in the event of a ‘no-deal’ outcome with the EU, given that trade with the 27-nation bloc accounts for around half the country’s total.

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