Japan ratifies U.K. trade deal to take effect from January

TOKYO, Dec. 5 – The Upper House of Japan’s parliament ratified the Japan-U.K. trade agreement on Dec. 4, paving the way for the deal to take effect on Jan. 1 if it is ratified in Britain smoothly.

The bilateral economic partnership agreement “will pose no additional impact on our nation’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries industry,” agriculture minister Kotaro Nogami said during Diet deliberations.

Tariff cuts and reductions on British farm produce are kept at the same level as under the deal between Japan and the European Union, but no new import quotas will be set for Britain.

For 10 items, including soft cheeses such as blue cheese, Britain will be able to use any low-tariff quota left over by the EU.

As for items subject to safeguard measures under the Japan-EU EPA, such as beef and pork, the measures will be applied against Britain only when the total amount of imports from the EU and Britain exceeds the trigger level.

Rice was exempted from tariff cuts and reductions in the Japan-U.K. deal just as in the Japan-EU EPA.

The two countries began negotiations on the trade agreement in June since preferential tariff measures between Japan and Britain under the Japan-EU EPA, set following Britain’s exit from the EU, will expire at the end of this year and tariffs under the Japan-EU deal will not apply to Britain after that. They signed the deal in October.

Britain has been showing strong intention to also join the Trans-Pacific Partnership framework. “I hope to be able to formally apply early next year,” British International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said.

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