On 22 October 2020, the Department for International Trade (DIT) announced that the United Kingdom and Japan will sign theUK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in Tokyo on 23 October. The DIT said:
The British-shaped deal is the first agreement that the UK has secured that goes beyond the existing EU deal, with enhancements in areas such as digital and data, financial services, food and drink, and creative industries.
It brings together two of the world’s most technologically advanced nations, placing the UK at the forefront of shaping new global standards on digital trade.
- Cutting-edge digital & data provisions that go far beyond the EU-Japan deal, including enabling free flow of data, a commitment to uphold the principles of net neutrality and a ban on unjustified data localisation that will prevent British businesses from having the extra cost of setting up servers in Japan.
- Supporting UK car and rail manufacturing jobs at major investors in the UK like Nissan and Hitachi through reduced tariffs on parts coming from Japan, streamlined regulatory procedures and greater legal certainty for their operations.
- Strong tariff reductions on key agricultural products like pork, beef and salmon will benefit farmers and food exporters.
- A boost for UK brands with protections for more iconic UK agricultural products, from just seven under the terms of the EU-Japan deal to potentially over 70, including English sparkling wine, Scotch beef and Welsh lamb.
- British consumers to benefit from cheaper, high-quality Japanese goods – from udon noodles to Bluefin tuna and Kobe beef.
This deal could boost trade between the UK and Japan by over £15 billion and drive economic growth in the long run, benefiting all parts of the country and Scotland, London and the East Midlands in particular. The signing of this FTA, and its subsequent ratification, will not only strengthen the UK economy but also help us to build back better from Covid-19.
Today’s signing of the agreement also signals Japan’s strong commitment to supporting the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), one of the world’s biggest free trade areas, covering 13% of the global economy in 2018 and more than £110bn of trade in 2019.
After the CEPA is signed, the final text will be laid in Parliament for 21 sitting days for scrutiny under the Constitutional Reform and Governance (CRaG) Act. The UK government will also publish a full report on the agreement, providing an explanation of the CEPA, including any significant differences or enhancements between the UK-Japan CEPA and the EU-Japan Agreement.