By Karim El-Bar
LONDON (AA) - The UK and Japan signed a free trade agreement in Tokyo on Friday.
The deal was agreed in principle on Sep. 11 and is the UK’s first major post-Brexit trade agreement.
The government claims that the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) will boost trade with Japan by £15.2 billion over the next 15 years, and over the same period increase UK’s GDP by around 0.07%.
CEPA will mean 99% of British exports to Japan will be tariff-free. The government also claimed the UK would get cheaper access to high-quality Japanese goods.
In a statement, British International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “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.
“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.”
Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said: “The signing of the UK’s first independent trade agreement is a milestone for our economy and will be welcomed by businesses in many sectors.
“This deal has the potential to support jobs across the country through lifting British farming exports and supporting our manufacturing and services sectors. Consumers will also benefit through greater choice.
“Ultimately, trade is a powerful lever of economic growth. The CBI and its members will now work with government to take full advantage of the opportunities and ensure the benefits are felt in all parts of the UK.”
The UK will continue post-Brexit trade talks with the EU this week.