It’s All TokyGo: Britain is on the brink of putting its first post-Brexit trade deal in ink as talks with Japan pick up pace

The Sun has reported that the United Kingdom is on the cusp of signing its first trade deal in almost 47-years as negotiations with Tokyo accelerate at speeds similar to Japan’s Shinkansen bullet trains. 

Harry Cole, who recently returned from The Mail on Sunday as The Sun’s political editor, added in his piece that while trade talks only commenced on the 8th of June, a significant breakthrough was made last week and it is anticipated that the agreement will reduce the cost of cars and technological goods from the Land of the Rising Sun to Great Britain.

The United Kingdom and Japan have maintained a healthy relationship in the automotive industry since 1986 when Nissan opened the first Japanese-based car plant in the English town of Sunderland. In more recent times, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders estimated that the number of Japanese cars on British roads had grown exponentially as their demand grew by almost forty per-cent between 2012 and 2017.

The trade accord is set to mirror much of the deal signed between Brussels and Tokyo last February; however, both negotiating teams have made additional commitments to grant British businesses easier market access and a further “reduction or elimination” of Japanese tariffs on British exports, including luxury leather goods.

When the international trade secretary, Liz Truss, and her Japanese counterpart, Hiroshi Matsuura when the pair meet in London later today they are expected to discuss what British exports will no longer face the levy imposed on the same products from European Union member states. Central to the conversation will be whether the Japanese tariffs are reduced on Britain’s pork meat exports.

According to The Daily Express, and in contrast to the EU-Japanese trade deal, the UK has negotiated terms that may ensure easier market access for the 380,000 tons of pork meat exported by British farmers every year. The Express added that the draft negotiation would protect Scotch whiskey distilleries, something that Brussels negotiating team failed to do. 

When the EU and Japan agreed to a trade deal last year the British people were warned in a BBC article that “there are warnings that the UK could lose its benefits if it leaves the EU without an agreement”. Nevertheless, it now appears that the changes made to that initial trade agreement are even more beneficial for the British producer and consumer. 

Instead of the doom and gloom of the BBC last year, professor David Collins’ piece for Global Vision described the imminent free trade agreement between Japan and the United Kingdom as “one of the greatest post-Brexit prizes”. The professor of international economic law at the City of London University added that the prospect of a UK-Japanese trade deal is forecast to yield an increase of trade between the two nations of approximately £15 billion and in the long term propel the earnings of British workers by £800 million. 

For some time those aboard the ‘Brexit Express’ touted a trade deal with the United States as the economic symbol of British independence. While it now appears unlikely that a transatlantic deal will be reached before Americans go to the polls in early November, the acceleration of talks with Tokyo has prompted The Daily Mail to project the conclusion of Japanese trade talks by September and once the agreement is finalised it will be symbolic to the United Kingdom taking back control.

By J Walters

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