UK signs first free trade agreement with Japan after EU separation

October 23, 2020


Britain and Japan have signed a trade agreement, the first major deal for the UK after brexit, at a time when it is struggling to conclude a deal with its EU partners.

“How appropriate it is to be in the sunshine to welcome the dawn of a new era of free trade… This is the first new free trade agreement to be concluded since the UK became an independent trading country.”

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said the signing came just four and a half months after the start of negotiations, saying “this is evidence of Japan and the UK’s determination to continue to promote free trade strongly,” noting that he agreed with Truss to work together until the agreement comes into force on January 1, 2021.

Britain said the deal meant that 99 percent of its exports to Japan would be duty-free, and that it could increase trade by 15.2 billion pounds ($19.9 billion) in the long term, compared to 2018.

The agreement eliminates British duties on Japanese cars in stages to zero in 2026, similar to the Japan-EU trade agreement.