Trade Secretary highlights tech in £15bn free trade deal with Japan

Posted on October 23, 2020 by Alistair Hardaker

The UK has officially signed an economic partnership agreement with Japan.

The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), was agreed in principle last month and is the first major trade deal post-Brexit.

The government claims the agreement will boost trade with Japan by £15.2bn over the next 15 years, or a 0.07% boost compared to 2018.

It said that UK businesses will enjoy tariff-free trade on 99% of exports to the country, and called the countries “two of the world’s most technologically advanced nations.”

Among the benefits touted by the government is digital and data provisions, including the “free flow of data”, a commitment to net neutrality and a ban on unjustified data localisation which would “prevent British businesses from having the extra cost of setting up servers in Japan”.

It said this would help benefit UK FinTech firms operating in Japan, such as Revolut and Transferwise.

Other sectors it said would see enhancements include financial services, food and drink, and creative industries.

Big Japanese firm which have invested in Britain include automotive firm Nissan and supplier Hitachi, which will benefit from reduced tariffs on parts, it said.

The government is due to publish a full report on the agreement which will include any significant differences or enhancements between the current CEPA deal and the existing agreement Japan has with the EU.

International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss said of the deal: ”Today is 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.”

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said in September the talks with the UK government had been difficult “but we managed to reach an agreement in principle with extraordinary speed, in just three months”.

CEO of TechUK, Julian David said in September: “TechUK welcomes the conclusion of the UK-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement with its comprehensive digital trade chapter.”

He said the agreement “improves an already flourishing relationship between the UK and Japan tech sectors and creates significant opportunities for trade and investment for both our countries.”

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