Japan-U.K. trade deal faces hurdles despite good intentions



William Hollingworth | The Japan Times

The U.K.’s hopes of a swift trade deal with Japan will ultimately rest on a successful resolution to the main talks between London and the European Union on a new trading arrangement, some experts say.

Virtual meetings on a new free trade agreement between the U.K. and Japan will begin shortly, but little of substance may be achieved due to the lack of progress on the key talks in Brussels, which will bear heavily on minds in Tokyo.

And even when negotiators from the U.K. and Japan start discussions on the terms of a new trade deal, the interests of food producers and powerful domestic lobbies may make getting a deal harder than initially envisaged, observers claim.

Unveiling a negotiating objectives paper for the bilateral talks in May, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said, “Both sides are committed to an ambitious timeline to secure a deal that goes even further than the EPA especially in digital and data,” referring to the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and Japan.

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