Japan and Britain have made progress in their trade talks, Japanese foreign minister Motegi Toshimitsu said on August 6.
Motegi is currently in London meeting senior ministers as the two countries try to tie up a deal before Britain leaves the European Union and no longer benefits from an existing EU-Japan deal.
Speaking after a meeting with British International Trade Minister Elizabeth Truss on concluding a new bilateral trade deal, Motegi also said that he thinks the two sides have come to a better mutual understanding.
Motegi and Truss will meet again on Friday, the final day of their two-day meeting, to have further last-minute negotiations.
“As working-level agreements had been reached for the most part, we negotiated the remaining important issues today,” Motegi said.
When asked about the chances of the two countries reaching a a comprehensive agreement on Friday, Motegi replied by saying that “You never know what will happen but we’ll do our best.”
According to informed sources with access to the negotiations, the two nations have already agreed on digital trade rules and a scheme to protect their famous products.
In the ministerial talks, Japan was seeking early removal of Britain’s automobile and auto parts tariffs, while Britain was calling on Japan to liberalize its farm market further, the sources said.
Japan and Britain kicked off their trade talks on June 9, following Britain’s exit from the European Union.
The two countries hope to put the new bilateral trade deal into effect, in time for the year-end expiration of the Brexit transition period, during which tariffs-related preferential measures under the Japan-EU economic partnership agreement continue to cover Britain.
JIJI Press/ Reuters