Tuesday, 1 Dec 2020

Brexit Britain: Japan-UK trade deal is a ‘slap in face of EU’s existing agreement’

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The UK and Japan have signed a free trade agreement (FTA) at a ceremony in Tokyo, hours before negotiations on a post-Brexit deal with the European Union are due to resume. The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which was agreed in principle last month, is Britain’s first deal with a major economy since Brexit. The Government claims the agreement will boost trade with Japan by £15.2billion over the next 15 years – and British businesses will enjoy tariff-free trade on 99 percent of exports to the country.

After the ceremony, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “How fitting it is to be in the land of the rising sun to welcome in the dawn of a new era of free trade.”

She added it would “pave the way” towards UK membership of the wider Trans-Pacific Partnership.

In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Brexiteer and former Ukip MP Douglas Carswell argued the deal the UK managed to negotiate is a slap in the face to the EU, as it is even better than the existing agreement between the bloc and Tokyo.

He said: “Everyone who voted to leave and a large chunk of Remainers should cheer up.

“This is a really good deal for the UK.

“It shows that actually as an independent country we can negotiate good deals.”

He noted: “It is not just a continuity of the arrangement under the EU.

“This is the old arrangement we had as members of the EU plus, and it is a one heck of a big plus, it means companies will find it much easier to sell into Japan.

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“We now have a far better trade deal that we did as members of the EU.”

The prominent Brexiteer added: “We were told authoritatively that it would have taken six to eight years for Liz Truss to negotiate the deal.

“She has done it in a few months.

“It is incredibly exciting news.

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“This is about Britain being open and global.”

The new deal replicates the existing EU-Japan deal, but has an extra chapter on digital trade and lacks the quotas for agricultural exports such as cheese that Brussels wrested from Tokyo during years of talks.

Instead, the deal allows the UK to use any agricultural quotas left over by the EU.

British officials are confident there will be enough space in the quotas to maintain and increase the UK’s food exports to Japan.

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