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Japan, Britain Trade Deal     10/23 06:08

   

   TOKYO (AP) -- Japan and Britain signed a bilateral free trade deal Friday in 
the the first such major post-Brexit deal, reducing tariffs on Yorkshire lamb 
sold in Japan, as well as auto parts for Japan's Nissan plant.

   "How fitting it is to be in the Land of the Rising Sun to welcome in the 
dawn of a new era of free trade," British International Trade Secretary Liz 
Truss told reporters at a signing ceremony in Tokyo.

   Appearing with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, Truss called the 
agreement a "landmark" as the first major trade deal for Britain as it becomes 
once again an independent trading nation.

   The deal, expected to boost British trade with Japan by 15 billion pounds 
($19.5 billion) annually, also will make it easier for British companies to 
operate in Japan.

   Financial services are Britain's biggest export to Japan, now at 28%. 
English sparkling wine, made-in-Britain coats and shoes, Stilton cheese, pork, 
lamb and biscuits will become cheaper in Japan.

   Motegi said the bilateral deal ensures continuity with the earlier European 
agreement and adds new areas for cooperation such as e-commerce and financial 
services.

   Japan's existing free trade agreement with the European Union includes 
Britain only until the end of this year, as it exits the EU.

   Parliamentary approval is needed in both nations before the agreement takes 
effect from the beginning of next year. It's expected in Japan next week, as 
the ruling party controls both houses of parliament.

   Japan already exports about 1.5 trillion yen ($14 billion) of goods to 
Britain each year, mostly autos, auto parts and other machinery. It imports 
nearly 1 trillion yen ($9.5 billion) from Britain, including pharmaceuticals, 
medical products and cars, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

   Tariffs on Japanese autos will be removed gradually and won't become 
eliminated until 2026. That matches Japan's arrangement with the EU.

   Japan has repeatedly expressed concern about the likely impact of Brexit on 
Japanese businesses in Britain, which include Hitachi, with plants making 
railway cars for East Coast trains, and Nissan Motor Co., employing several 
thousand workers at its Sunderland auto plant.

   Motegi visited Britain in August, his first overseas trip amid the 
coronavirus pandemic, and stressed the importance for reaching a trade deal 
quickly.

 
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