Japan ratifies UK trade deal to take effect Jan. 1

Nikkei -- Dec 06
Japan's parliament on Friday completed ratification of a free trade deal with the U.K., a key move for supporting Japanese auto companies, railcar makers and other industrial groups through Britain's looming exit from the European Union.

The economic partnership agreement, set to take effect Jan. 1, saves Japanese manufacturers operating in the U.K. from a Brexit "cliff edge" at the end of this month.

But a trade deal between the U.K. and EU remains necessary to ensure these companies have frictionless commerce with the European bloc after Brexit.

The Japan-U.K. agreement "ensures continuity for Japanese and British companies, and it is hoped that bilateral trade and investment will advance under the agreement's high standards," Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters Friday following a cabinet meeting.

While smoothing the way for trade, London and Tokyo are also exploring closer ties in the security field, including sharing with Japan intelligence gathered by the "Five Eyes" arrangement of the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Lawmakers in Japan's legislative Diet pass the free trade deal with Great Britain on Dec. 4. (Photo by Uichiro Kasai)

The economic partnership agreement will abolish tariffs on industrial goods imports and exports in terms of quantity and value. Tariffs on Japanese exports of passenger cars to the U.K. will be cut stepwise until they are eliminated in 2026 -- just like Japan's arrangement with the EU

Tariffs will immediately be abolished on such items as rail cars and components, turbojet engines and control panels for electric vehicles.

- Nikkei