The UK and Japan recently announced their successful conclusion of negotiations over a free trade agreement, which is set to come into force early next year. The UK-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is seen as a major milestone for the post-Brexit UK, providing a crucial foothold within a key trading region and providing much-needed reassurance to British businesses amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. In this article, we will examine the key features of the UK-Japan FTA text.

One of the primary objectives of the UK-Japan FTA is to provide a seamless transition for businesses affected by the end of the Brexit transition period. To this end, the agreement includes provisions to ensure that businesses in both countries can continue to trade with each other under the same terms as they do currently, with no additional tariffs or quotas being introduced.

Another key area of the UK-Japan FTA is the agricultural sector. The UK has secured significant concessions from Japan in terms of agricultural exports. For example, the UK will be able to export Stilton and other blue cheeses to Japan under preferential terms, as well as pork, beef, and salmon. In return, Japan will see lower tariffs on its car exports, which will be phased in over a period of several years.

The UK-Japan FTA also includes provisions on digital trade, which have been a major focus of free trade agreements in recent years. Both countries have committed to upholding their respective standards on digital trade, including data protection and intellectual property rights. The agreement also includes provisions on e-commerce, such as a commitment to promote paperless trading.

A key area of the UK-Japan FTA that has received significant attention is the dispute resolution mechanism. Both countries have agreed to use an independent arbitration panel to resolve any disputes that may arise under the agreement. This is seen as a crucial safeguard, as it ensures that both countries have a neutral third party to turn to in the event of a dispute.

In conclusion, the UK-Japan FTA is a significant achievement for both countries. It provides a crucial foundation for post-Brexit UK trade policy, while also providing reassurance to businesses at a time when uncertainty is rife. The text of the agreement is comprehensive, covering a wide range of areas including agriculture, digital trade, and dispute resolution. Overall, the UK-Japan FTA is a positive step towards building stronger, more resilient trading relationships in the future.