The UK has secured it’s first post-Brexit trade deal as an independent trading nation. The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement is just the first of many deals to be struck. It will provide extensive economic benefits to businesses in the UK. It covers areas in digital and data, financial services, food and drinks and creative industries, it could boost trade by an estimated £15.7 billion. In the East Midlands alone, exported good were worth around £550 million to Japan in 2019.
The succession of the UK to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will provide a significant economic boost and help create jobs. CPTPP is one of the worlds biggest free trade areas, covering 13% of the global economy in 2018 and was worth more than £110 billion of trade in 2019.
This deal will also benefit consumers as flagship Japanese products will see tariffs drop from 26.4% to 0% on the 1st of January on products such as udon noodles. Cutting-edge digital and date provisions that go far beyond the EU-Japan deal, including the free flow of data a commitment to uphold the principle of net neutrality and a ban on unjustified data localisation that will prevent British business from having the extra cost of setting up servers in Japan.
There will also be a reduction in tariffs on key agricultural products like pork, beef and salmon that will benefit both farmers and food exporters. It also includes protection for iconic UK agricultural products like the Melton Mowbray pork pie, Buxton Blue cheese, Dovedale cheese or Rutland Bitter which are held in high regard in the East Midlands and across the UK.
East Midlands businesses including clothing manufacturers to biscuit makers will benefit from the reduction in tariffs as part of this new agreement. Tariffs will reduce from 8% to 0% for leather handbags and from 27% to 0% for leather shoes, making it easier for our regions historic leather foods to be sold easily to Japan. Last year exports of clothing to Japan from the East Midlands was worth £6 million, demonstrating the possibilities this agreement presents.
It is not only large companies that will benefit but also small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) including in South Derbyshire, making trade easier and simple and will then boost the local economy and help create jobs.
As Trade Envoy to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam I look forward to building on close ties and boosting British and in particular South Derbyshire business. As we have left the EU I welcome the opportunities it presents especially in terms of trade and the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement is a shining example. I look forward to seeing the UK take its place on the global stage.