Wednesday 29 July 2020 11:31 am

UK just weeks away from signing Japan free trade deal

The UK is on the verge of signing a free trade deal with Japan, with the agreement set to be closed within a matter of weeks.

Negotiations, which began just six weeks ago, have reportedly reached a breakthrough point with the dialogue at an “advanced stage”, according to a government source.

Read more: Japan gives UK just six weeks to secure post-Brexit trade deal

The Sun reports that the deal will be implemented on 1 January 2021, when the UK leaves the EU customs union and single market, and will see a reduced tariffs for Japanese electronic devices exported to the UK.

British cars are also set to have reduced tariffs to make them cheaper for the Japanese market.

It comes after Tokyo’s chief negotiator Hiroshi Matsuura told the Financial Times on 23 June that he wanted to wrap a trade deal up in six weeks and that both parties would have to “limit their ambitions”.

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The framework of the new deal is based off the EU-Japan deal struck last year, but with a further reduction or elimination of Japanese tariffs on British goods.

There is also expected to be increased access to Japanese markets for British companies.

City A.M. revealed in May that an agreement could provide a £383m boost to London’s economy every year.

Speaking last month, Matsuura said: “To avoid a gap in January, we must pass this in the autumn session of the Diet [the Japanese parliament].

“That means we must complete negotiations by the end of July.”

Read more: Michel Barnier reportedly believes post-Brexit trade deal is possible

The Japanese trade talks are happening alongside negotiations for other trade deals with the US, the EU, Australia and New Zealand.

The deadline for a UK-EU trade deal is 31 December, however talks have stalled over disagreements on EU access to UK fishing waters and business competition regulations known as the level playing field.

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