The UK has secured its first major post-Brexit trade deal after signing an agreement with Japan which will boost trade by an estimated £15bn.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said it is a “historic moment” for the two countries which will bring “new wins” for British businesses in the manufacturing, food and drink, and tech industries.
The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was agreed in principle by Ms Truss and Japan’s foreign minister Motegi Toshimitsu, in a video call on Friday morning.
The Government said the deal brings benefits beyond the EU-Japan trade deal, giving UK companies exporting to Japan a competitive advantage. Almost all exports to Japan (99 per cent) will benefit from tariff-free trade.
Ms Truss said: “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.”
The Director General of the Confederation of British Industry, Carolyn Fairbairn, added: “The signing of the UK-Japan trade deal is a breakthrough moment.
“It will be welcomed by businesses across the country. The Government and business now need to work together to make the most from the deal.
“It’s a huge opportunity to secure new Japanese investment across a wider range of sectors and UK regions.”