UK says signing of free trade deal with Japan "landmark moment"

Source: Xinhua| 2020-10-23 21:45:34|Editor: huaxia

LONDON, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Britain on Friday said the signing of an economic partnership agreement with Japan, as its first major trade deal as an independent trading nation after Brexit, was "a landmark moment".

The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), signed in Tokyo earlier Friday by British International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, is tailored to benefit digital and data, financial services, food and drink, and creative industries, the British government said in a statement.

Agreed in principle on Sept. 11, 2020, the deal could boost trade between Britain and Japan by more than 15 billion pounds (about 19.6 billion U.S. dollars), said the statement.

The British government aims to secure free trade agreements with countries covering 80 percent of Britain's trade within the next three years, said the statement.

Trade between the two countries was worth about 38 billion U.S. dollars in 2019, with Japan being Britain's 11th largest export market while Britain the 12th biggest market for Japan.

The deal was signed at a time when Britain resumed talks on future relationship with the European Union (EU) this week in London, a few days after Downing Street said the post-Brexit negotiations were over.

The two sides started their lengthy and bumpy post-Brexit talks in March after Britain ended its EU membership on Jan. 31, trying to secure a future trade deal before the Brexit transition period expires at the end of the year.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen were engaged in a video meeting in early October, trying to unlock the trade talks at a time when countries, such as Britain, China, Russia and the United States, are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines. Enditem