The UK and Japan have this morning agreed a new free trade deal between the two countries. With International Trade Secretary Liz Truss working to secure a number of FTAs for when the Brexit transition period ends, this is the first that goes beyond what the UK had under EU arrangements.
Announcing the news, Truss said this marked a 'historic moment' for the UK and Japan as the government's 'first major post-Brexit trade deal'. According to government estimates, the agreement will boost trade with Japan by over £15 billion – though internal analysis suggests the overall net benefit will amount to 0.07% of GDP. Aspects of the deal that are being heralded as a win for Britain include digital and data provisions that go beyond the EU-Japan deal as well as improved market access for UK financial services and protection of 70 UK goods ranging from Wensleydale cheese to English sparkling wine.
Aside from the immediate PR boost of agreeing a deal, this FTA ought to be helpful to a more long term aim of the government on trade: the trans-pacific partnership. The trade agreement between the 11 nations (including Japan, Canada and Australia) is one the UK has expressed an interest in joining. Today's agreement is viewed as a potential gateway into doing just that.