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UK signs first big post-Brexit deal with Japan

10/23/2020 | 06:01am EST

It was an historic day for British business in Tokyo Friday (October 23)

as the country signed its first big post-Brexit deal on trade with Japan.

British Trade Secretary Liz Truss signed off on the deal.

"It provides British businesses with a gateway to Asia-Pacific. It's ambitious digital provisions affirm our status as technology superpowers. And it paves the way for accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership - a group of 11 Pacific nations which the UK already has £112 billion ($146 billion) worth of trade with."

The trade agreement comes as the UK continues to struggle to agree on a deal with its closest trading partners in the European Union.

Britain formally left the EU in January and it has focused on negotiating new trade deals around the world as the transition period ends on December 31st.

The signing comes after Truss and Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi reached a broad agreement in September.

Britain has said the deal meant 99% of its exports to Japan would be tariff-free, and that it could increase trade by $19.9 billion in the long run, compared with 2018.

Motegi said after the signing that he had agreed with Truss to work together so that the deal will come into force on January 1, 2021.

"To this day, many Japanese companies have expanded their business to the UK as the gateway to continental Europe. It is important to maintain the supply chain between the UK and the EU even after the UK's withdrawal from the EU. Japan has high hopes that an agreement is reached soon on negotiations between the UK and the EU on its future partnership."

Britain's chief negotiator David Frost will meet with the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier in London Friday as last minute trade talks continue.

© Reuters 2020
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