The UK has begun the first round of trade negotiations with Japan in the first step of government plans to join the Comprehensive Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – a trading region which covers nearly 500 million consumers from Australia and New Zealand to Chile, Canada and Peru amongst others.
Designated ‘a key UK priority’ for a post-Brexit business environment, a trade deal could boost the UK economy by £1.5bn with an agreement based on the existing EU-Japan agreement, although the UK is looking to secure additional benefits which will likely include digital trade and tighter financial cooperation.
Secretary of state for trade, Liz Truss, said she hopes a trade deal will be concluded before the Brexit transition period ends on 31st December.
“We aim to strike a comprehensive free trade agreement that goes further than the deal previously agreed with the EU, setting ambitious standards in areas such as digital trade and services,” she said.
Japan is the third-largest economy in the world with a GDP of $5.18 trillion with UK-Japan trade worth £31.4bn last year. And exports to the region have been growing, up 8.5% over the last 24 months.
Increased digital trade will prove a key part of any future agreement with Japan’s future e-commerce market set to grow by almost 30% over the next two years and be worth more than $200bn.