Brexit news latest – British BREAKTHROUGH as UK seals first major trade deal signing bumper agreement with Japan

THE UK is celebrating a Brexit breakthrough after signing its first major post departure trade deal with Japan

The deal, which was unveiled last month by formally signed today, means nearly all its exports to Japan will be tariff free while British tariffs on Japanese cars will be axed by 2026.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss called it a "ground-breaking, British-shaped deal", although critics haven't been quite so husging, saying it will boost UK GDP by only 0.07% – a fraction of the trade that could be lost with the EU.

The deal comes as the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier is back in London for restarted Brexit trade talks.

Arriving in London for intensified talks yesterday, Barnier told Reuters: "I think it's very important to be back at the table. I think we have a huge common responsibility."

Follow our Brexit live blog for all the latest news and updates…

  • Patrick Knox

    MAKING SPACE

    This picture offers a view of the area near Sevington in Ashford, Kent, where the government is developing the 27-acre site near the town into a post-Brexit lorry park as efforts continue to strike a post-Brexit trade deal.

    The spot next to Junction 10a, which is being made ready for the end of the transition period in December.

    When completed, the site will officially be called the 'Sevington Inland Border Facility', will be used to process paperwork before truckers continue their journey.

  • Joseph Gamp

    MINISTER QUESTIONED ON WHY FISHING IS KEY ISSUE TO UNLOCKING BREXIT STALEMATE

    Trade policy minister Greg Hands has been questioned on why the government is insisting on protecting the UK’s fishing industry at the risk of no-deal in Brexit negotiations.

    It is understood that fishing rights remain a key stumbling block in negotiations with the EU.

    Mr Hands was asked on Sky News why the government had made fishing a key part of the negotiations when the industry “has a lower turnover than Harrod's Department Store”.

    The minister replied: “What we’re trying to do is get the deal which would allow us to continue our key trade in areas like financial services and cars but don’t underestimate the importance of fishing and control over our waters.

    “It’s a key part of national sovereignty…”

  • Joseph Gamp

    NEW LOGOS THAT WILL PROTECT AUTHENTIC BRITISH FOODS ARE UNVEILED

    New rules and logos to protect traditional British foods such as Stilton cheese and Melton Mowbray pork pies have been set out by the Government.

    The protections for British foods will replace the EU's geographical indication scheme – which safeguards traditional food and drink ranging from champagne to parmesan cheese – after the end of the Brexit transition period.

    It will mean shoppers will be able to buy authentic food and drink such as Scotch whisky and Welsh lamb confident about where it has come from and how it has been produced.

    The schemes will also protect British producers from imitation, officials said.

  • Joseph Gamp

    BRITAIN AND EU HAVE MADE 'REAL PROGRESS' SAYS TRUSS – BUT UK PREPARED TO WALK AWAY

    Britain and the European Union have made real progress in Brexit trade talks and a deal is possible but if the bloc does not come to an agreement then Britain will leave without a deal, Trade Secretary Liz Truss said on Friday.

    “We're in intense negotiations with the EU – we've made real progress,” Truss said.

    “We want to get a good deal with the EU, a deal like they have with Canada, which we think is perfectly reasonable.”

    “We're making good progress on the negotiations. But if the EU aren't prepared to do a deal that allows the UK to retain its sovereignty, then we will go to Australia style terms, and I think that's perfectly reasonable.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    IN PICTURES: LORD FROST AND MICHEL BARNIER IN LONDON AHEAD OF TALKS

  • Joseph Gamp

    IRISH FOREIGN MINISTER BELIEVES BREXIT DEAL IS NOW POSSIBLE

    Ireland's foreign minister said on Friday he believed Britain and the European Union could reach a trade deal now the talks were back on track.

    But he added the issues of fair competition and fisheries hampering an accord were “still very much there”.

    “When we got a deal done this time last year, a lot of people were predicting that there would be a no-deal Brexit. We're seeing history repeat itself now,” Simon Coveney, who played a key role in last year's divorce treaty, told national broadcaster RTE.

    “I think a deal can be done, I've said that for quite some time. What we have now, after all sorts of politics being played, is a process that is back on track,” he said.

    He added that both sides remained “miles apart” on fishing.

  • Joseph Gamp

    BELGIUM DUSTS OF 1666 CHARTER FOR POST-BREXIT FISHING RIGHTS

    Belgium may resort to a 17th century charter granted by a British king to retain fishing rights in Britain's coastal waters if London and the European Union fail to agree a trade deal by the end of this year.

    With just over two months until Britain ends its transition period out of the EU, Belgium will lose access to much of the area it fishes in the North Sea if there is no deal.

    However, a document in Latin issued to Flanders in July 1666 by Britain's King Charles II gives 50 Flemish fishing boats access to British waters for perpetuity.

    “Knowing how Britain is attached to old habits and old laws, it may have a chance,” said Jan d'Hondt, the head archivist in the port city of Bruges, as he showed the large, yellowing paper document.

  • Joseph Gamp

    MACRON ATTEMPTED TO PUSH EU NATIONS TO TAKE HARSHER POSITION ON FISHING RIGHTS

    Emmanuel Macron tried to push other European Union leaders to agree to a much harsher position on access to British waters in the aftermath of Brexit.

    But in addition to the opposition of fellow leaders, Mr Macron appears now to be up against his own fishermen as one signalled the fleets will accept being excluded from UK waters, according to Express.co.uk.

    Speaking to TRT World, fisherman Stephane Pinto said: “Here we have at least 100 boats locally, not to mention the larger industrial boats and that means 400 families.

    “For every fisherman on a boat, there are four jobs on land.

    “If tomorrow access to British waters is forbidden, it's clear we can't work there, we will not go. We won't go against the law.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    EU'S BARNIER SAYS IT IS 'VERY IMPORTANT' TO BE BACK AT NEGOTIATING TABLE

    The European Union's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said on Thursday it was very important to be back at the negotiating table with Britain, hinting that time was running out by adding that “every day counts”.

    Arriving in London for intensified trade talks, Barnier told Reuters: “I think it's very important to be back at the table.”

    “Every day counts,” he said, adding: “I think we have a huge common responsibility.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    IN PICTURES: UK AND JAPAN SIGN TRADE DEAL

  • Joseph Gamp

    TREASURY COMMITTEE WORRIED ABOUT LACK OF BREXIT PREPARATIONS

    The Government may have left it too late for businesses to prepare properly for the end of free movement of goods to and from the European Union, an influential group of ministers said on Friday.

    The British parliament's Treasury Committee has written to finance minister Rishi Sunak about their concerns over delays setting up computer systems that allow businesses to handle new customs requirements that come into force on January 1, 2021.

    “The Committee came away from its evidence session … with serious concerns about the UK's customs preparedness for the end of the Brexit transition period,” committee chair Mel Stride said.

    “I've asked the Chancellor to respond to our concerns as a matter of urgency,” he added.

  • Joseph Gamp

    WHAT IS A NO DEAL BREXIT?

    The UK and EU are continuing trade talks in London to salvage a post-Brexit deal before mid November.

    Negotiations continue, but the EU and UK still disagree over future arrangements for areas such as fisheries, state aid and financial services.

    But what does a No Deal Brexit mean for the UK and how will it affect us?

    Learn more in our handy explainer here.

  • Joseph Gamp

    BREXIT TALKS CONTINUE BETWEEN MICHEL BARNIER AND LORD FROST

    Post-Brexit trade talks between the UK and European Union will continue in London on Friday as Michel Barnier said both sides have a “common responsibility” to strike a deal.

    The European Union's chief negotiator is expected to continue discussions with his UK counterpart Lord Frost as the deadline for an agreement looms.

    Talks had been in limbo after Boris Johnson's deadline for a deal passed last week, but they resumed on Thursday as Brussels said both sides needed to compromise on trade issues.

    Mr Barnier arrived in London on Thursday evening wearing a face covering printed with the EU flag.

    He told reporters: “I think we have a huge common responsibility. Every day counts.”

  • Joseph Gamp

    MINISTER SAYS EU TRADE DEAL MUST RESPECT UK SOVEREIGNTY

    A Brexit trade deal is in both sides interests but can only happen if the European Union respects British sovereignty over fisheries, UK junior finance minister Stephen Barclay said on Friday.

    Asked if there would be a deal, Barclay said: “I hope so.”

    “But that deal needs to reflect that fact that we're leaving the EU, we will regain control of our fisheries – it was a key issue for many of your viewers during the Brexit debate and it is important that the deal reflects that,” he told Sky News.

  • Alahna Kindred

    NEW DEAL

    International Trade Secretary Liz Truss on Friday signed a free trade agreement with Japan, hailing it as the dawn of a new era of free trade.

    The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) was agreed in principle last month.

    Labour has previously said the net benefit of the deal would amount to just 0.07% of GDP.

    At a signing ceremony in Tokyo, Ms Truss told reporters: “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.”

    In a statement, she called the deal “a landmark moment for Britain”.

    “It shows what we can do as an independent trading nation, as we secure modern and bespoke provisions in areas like tech and services that are critical to the future of our country and the reshaping of our economy,” Ms Truss said.

    “Trade is a powerful way to deliver the things people really care about.

    “At its heart, this deal is about creating opportunity and prosperity for all parts of our United Kingdom and driving the economic growth we need to overcome the challenges of coronavirus.

    “The agreement also has a much wider strategic significance.

    “It opens a clear pathway to membership of the Comprehensive Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will open new opportunities for British business and boost our economic security, and strengthens ties with a like-minded democracy, key ally and major investor in Britain.”

  • Alahna Kindred

    STUMBLING BLOCKS

    The main stumbling blocks remain fishing rights, the governance of any deal and the “level playing field” aimed at preventing unfair competition, which includes state subsidies.

    Time is short to reach an agreement before the end of the transition period on December 31.

    Both sides had previously said a deal would need to be reached by mid-October in order to allow time for ratification.

  • Alahna Kindred

    TALKS CONTINUE

    Post-Brexit trade talks between the UK and European Union will continue in London on Friday as Michel Barnier said both sides have a “common responsibility” to strike a deal.

    The European Union's chief negotiator is expected to continue discussions with his UK counterpart Lord Frost as the deadline for an agreement looms.

    Talks had been in limbo after Boris Johnson's deadline for a deal passed last week, but they resumed on Thursday as Brussels said both sides needed to compromise on trade issues.

    Mr Barnier arrived in London on Thursday evening wearing a face covering printed with the EU flag.

    He told reporters: “I think we have a huge common responsibility.

    “Every day counts.”

    Number 10 acknowledged that “significant gaps” remain between the two sides and it was “entirely possible that negotiations will not succeed”.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    LAND OF THE RISING SOON

    Britain's first post-Brexit deal with Japan has been hailed as a “landmark moment” by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss.

    She said the agreement, a huge boost for an independent Britain, will help us bounce back from the Covid recession.

    Brits will be able to snap up cheaper bluefin tuna, kobe beef and udon noodles thanks to the bumper trade deal.

    UK farmers will also see tariffs slashed on pork, beef and salmon. 

    Ms Truss celebrated sealing the deal by giving her Japanese opposite number Toshimitsu Motegi a jar of posh Fortnum and Mason Stilton.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    TRADE SECRETARY SAYS DEALS WILL TURN NORTH EAST INTO 'SINGAPORE ON TYNE'

    Post-Brexit trade deals will turn the north east of the UK into “Singapore on Tyne”, the International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, has said.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    'HUGE COMMON RESPONSIBILITY'

    Arriving in the UK, Mr Barnier told reporters it was “important to be back at the table”, and the two sides shared a “huge common responsibility”.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    'VERY IMPORTANT' TO BE BACK AT NEGOTIATING TABLE, SAYS EU'S BARNIER

    The European Union's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said on Thursday it was very important to be back at the negotiating table with Britain, hinting that time was running out by adding that “every day counts”.

    Arriving in London for intensified trade talks, Barnier told Reuters: “I think it's very important to be back at the table.”

    “Every day counts,” he said, adding: “I think we have a huge common responsibility.”

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    'EVERY DAY COUNTS' SAYS EU'S CHIEF NEGOTIATOR

    Arriving in London today Michel Barnier said “every day counts” ahead of the negotiations with his UK counterpart Lord David Frost.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    CONTINUED

    Charles II signed the document as a gesture to the city that gave him refuge after his father was beheaded during England's Civil War in 1649, granting the citizens of Bruges, or “Civitas Brugensis”, the right to use 50 fishing boats in British waters.

    While today Belgian boats no longer sail from Bruges but from nearby Zeebrugge, the document known as the Privilege is still valid, according to Hilde Crevits, economy minister of the Belgian region of Flanders.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    BELGIUM DUSTS OF 1666 CHARTER FOR POST-BREXIT FISHING RIGHTS

    Belgium may resort to a 17th century charter granted by a British king to retain fishing rights in Britain's coastal waters if London and the European Union fail to agree a trade deal by the end of this year.

    With just over two months until Britain ends its transition period out of the EU, Belgium will lose access to much of the area it fishes in the North Sea if there is no deal.

    However, a document in Latin issued to Flanders in July 1666 by Britain's King Charles II gives 50 Flemish fishing boats access to British waters for perpetuity.

    “Knowing how Britain is attached to old habits and old laws, it may have a chance,” said Jan d'Hondt, the head archivist in the port city of Bruges, as he showed the large, yellowing paper document.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    GOVERNMENT DEFEATED IN LORDS OVER POST-BREXIT RIGHTS FOR EU CITIZENS IN UK

    The Government has suffered a symbolic defeat in the Lords over the rights of EU citizens eligible to remain in the UK after the end of the Brexit transition period.

    An Opposition motion regretting that regulations did not provide “clear statutory protection” for such residents during a so-called “grace period” next year was backed by 261 votes to 252, majority nine.

    But a Liberal Democrat move to reject the regulations was defeated by 266 votes to 120, Government majority 146.

    Home Office minister Baroness Williams of Trafford said the Government had prioritised the protection of EU, other European Economic Area and Swiss citizens who had made their home in the UK.

    “We have repeatedly said they are our friends and neighbours and we want them to stay.”

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