In a view for developing a comprehensive post-Brexit trade policy, the UK government is now focusing on Japan for a bilateral trade deal which is likely to be concluded this year. Japan, showing its interest in the trade deal, urged Britain to consider dropping the restriction on Japanese food import which was previously imposed by the European Union (EU).
UK-Japan New Trade Deal
As the Brexit finally occurred on January 31, 2020, the UK is looking out for preparing trade deals with the prominent countries in the Asia-pacific regions including Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia. The UK government, for its post-Brexit economic policy, wanted to forge bilateral trade deals with these countries and finalize these deals before January 2021.
After a meeting with Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi in the last week, British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab talked about a potential bilateral trade agreement between the two countries.
Citing his aim of completing the deals, Raab told Reuters in an interview, “The aspiration will be to do it by the end of the year. We can certainly begin it earlier than Spring.” He further described the reason why Tokyo was his main focus, “Japan is right up there in the list of priorities partly because of the size of the market, but also Japan is an absolute central country in the Indo Pacific region.”
As Reuters reported, Japanese Foreign Secretary, Motegi said in the meeting that Japan also looked forward to a conclusion of trade deals with the UK on a condition that Britain would relax EU’s restriction on Japanese food import slapped after the Fukushima nuclear incident in 2011.
UK’s Trade Deals in Post-Brexit
Britain initiated talks with several major economies including the US and the EU for its comprehensive economic policy in the post-Brexit. Raab, who started traveling for this week, would convene talks with his counterparts in Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia before returning to London. Referring to the possible deals with the EU, Raab had described, “We have too much in common, too much at stake for politics to trump the mutual economic self-interest. On both sides, we’ve got a chance now to focus on the positives in the relationship.”
Among the potential deals, Japan remained a key focus for the UK’s post-Brexit trade deals. Britain, while in the EU, had also signed the deal with Japan last year which aimed at reducing tariffs across products including Japanese automobiles. Tokyo based automobile company, Nissan Motor Co. had already accessed Europe since Britain approved the company’s new plant in London.
Despite easing on some products last year, the EU was insisting on inspection and certificate for some Japanese products such as seafood. Responding to a question, Raab told Reuters, “Obviously anything that affects food, health, and safety standards we would want to look at very carefully. We understand the Japanese concern about this and it will be science-led.”
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