UK Unveils Negotiating Objectives For FTA With Japan


The United Kingdom has published its negotiating objectives for a free trade agreement (FTA) with Japan based on the existing European Union-Japan FTA. It will aim at securing additional benefits for UK businesses trading with Japan. Talks will begin soon and textile and clothing manufacturers are likely to be one of the biggest winners of the FTA.

The first round of talks will start shortly using video conferencing, with negotiations continuing to take place remotely until it is safe to travel. More trade is essential in helping the UK overcome the unprecedented economic challenge posed by the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to a UK government statement.

“We’re optimistic that an agreement with Japan can give us security at home and opportunities abroad. It would help improve the resilience of our supply chains through diversity and opening new markets for business, bringing investment, better jobs, higher wages and lower prices, at a time when we need them most,” the statement said.

A deal will aim to secure cutting edge provisions on digital trade that in turn maximise trading opportunities across all sectors of the economy, building trust and stability for UK businesses, entrepreneurs and exporters, it said.

These additional provisions, as well as strong copyright provisions, would benefit innovative sectors such as e-commerce and the creative industries. They would also make it easier for the 8,000 small and medium businesses exporting goods to Japan.

Government analysis published today shows that the UK economy could benefit from a £1.5 billion boost, as a UK-Japan trade deal could increase trade flows between both countries by £15.2 billion. UK exporters would benefit from zero or lower tariffs, creating potential savings worth around £33 million per year, while UK workers’ wages are expected to increase by £800 million in the long run as a result of the deal.

The agreement would benefit the whole of the United Kingdom, with Scotland, the East Midlands and London expected to benefit the most.           

“UK-Japan trade talks are also the first logical step towards our joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), helping diversify UK trade and provide opportunities in the world’s fastest growing economies,” added the statement.

The UK government will set out its negotiating objectives for Australia and New Zealand shortly, with the aim of having 80 per cent of total UK external trade with countries covered by free trade agreements by 2022.