Tariffs on agricultural products to be reduced under UK-Japan Trade deal

Tariffs on exports of a number of agricultural products will be reduced under a new Free Trade Agreement announced with Japan today. 

The UK’s first major trade deal as an independent trading nation will increase trade with Japan by an estimated £15.2 billion, the Government said. The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was agreed in principle by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Japan’s Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu on a video call this morning.

The EU already has an FTA with Japan and the Government said the deal was ‘tailored to the UK economy and secures additional benefits beyond the EU-Japan trade deal, giving UK companies exporting to Japan a competitive advantage in a number of areas’. “It will help to create jobs and drive economic growth throughout the whole of the UK,” the Government said.

Among the specific elements announced are ‘strong tariff reductions for UK pork and beef exports’.  The Government said: “We have negotiated a deal that sees tariffs fall on pork, beef, salmon and a range of other agricultural exports. We will continue to benefit from access to the low tariffs for key food and drink products covered by quotas, such as Stilton cheese, tea extracts and bread mixes.”

This forms a pathway to further market access under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which is intended to give UK businesses ‘a gateway to the Asia-Pacific region and help to increase the resilience and diversity of our supply chains’.

Ms Truss said: “This is a historic moment for the UK and Japan as our first major post-Brexit trade deal. The agreement we have negotiated – in record time and in challenging circumstances – goes far beyond the existing EU deal, as it secures new wins for British businesses in our great manufacturing, food and drink, and tech industries.”

Dominic Goudie, head of international trade at the Food and Drink Federation said: “UK food and drink manufacturers are delighted to hear the UK has concluded a comprehensive new trade deal with Japan.

“As the world’s largest net importer of food and drink, this deal with Japan improves our existing terms of trade and offers significant new growth opportunities for quality UK manufacturing. We particularly welcome the additional flexibility this deal delivers in terms of rules of origin which are so crucial for our industry.”

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