The UK has secured its first post-Brexit trade deal following an agreement with Japan.
The government estimates the agreement will boost trade with Japan by £15.2bn and UK businessess will enjoy tariff-free trade on 99% of exports to the country.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss agreed the deal, in principle, with Japan’s foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi on a video call on Friday morning.
Ms Truss said the deal “goes far beyond” the EU-Japan trade deal that the UK will leave at the end of this year, when the Brexit transition period ends.
She also hailed the agreement as an “important step” towards the UK joining a wider 11-nation trade deal, known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Government analysis found that a deal with Japan will deliver a £1.5bn boost to the UK economy and increase UK workers’ wages by £800m in the long run.
The news of an agreement is a breakthrough after suggestions last month that negotiations had stalled over access to food and agricultural products.
It was reported that the UK had sought better terms for blue cheeses but Japan wanted to keep to existing EU tariffs.
Ms Truss said on Friday: “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.
“From our automotive workers in Wales to our shoemakers in the North of England, this deal will help build back better as we create new opportunities for people throughout the whole of the UK and help level up our country.
“Strategically, the deal is an important step towards joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership and placing Britain at the centre of a network of modern free trade agreements with like-minded friends and allies.”
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