JAPAN, UK SIGN POST-BREXIT AGREEMENT
Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and British International Trade Secretary Liz Truss hailed the "landmark" agreement as promoting free trade and strengthening bilateral ties after inking the deal in Tokyo, with London seeing it as a step to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership grouping 11 Pacific nations.
"It provides British businesses with the gateway to the Asia-Pacific...and it paves the way for the accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership," Truss said in a joint press announcement with Motegi, referring to the framework including Japan, Australia and Mexico and accounting for about 13 percent of the global economy.
Motegi said, "Japan also welcomes the United Kingdom's interest in acceding to the TPP 11 and will continue to give necessary support."
The Japan-U.K. pact, which largely replicates the existing Japan-EU free trade accord, will enter into force after domestic ratification procedures.
The two countries had negotiated the deal as the Japan-EU pact will not cover the United Kingdom after the completion of the Brexit transition period in December.
While Japanese companies welcome the deal, those based in the United Kingdom and operating in continental Europe are still wary about whether London will reach a free trade agreement with the bloc by the end of the transition period. Without such a deal, the Japanese firms' European businesses could be disrupted.