Back in 2017, former British Prime Minister Theresa May met with Toyota, Nissan and Hitachi executives in order to offer reassurances regarding the UK’s car industry going forward.
After the meetings, UK government sources said that a new trade agreement between the two nations was all but confirmed and would go into effect as soon as Britain would leave the European Union officially.
Fast forward to present times and the UK finally has its first big post-Brexit trade deal in place, with Japan keeping up its end of the agreement, reports Autonews Europe.
“This is a historic moment for the UK and Japan as our first major post-Brexit trade deal,” said British trade minister Liz Truss. “The agreement we have negotiated – in record time and in challenging circumstances – goes far beyond the existing EU deal, as it secures new wins for British businesses in our great manufacturing, food and drink, and tech industries.”
This deal will greatly benefit large Japanese investors in Britain, such as Nissan and supplier Hitachi, and will reduce Britain’s tariffs on Japanese cars in stages to zero by the year 2026.
“While we await the full terms of the agreement and, in particular, evidence that it will deliver in full on industry’s priorities for the progressive lifting of tariffs and reduction of regulatory barriers,” said British automotive trade group SMMT. “The conclusion of such a [free-trade agreement] represents a significant milestone for our industries.”
Meanwhile, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said that trade talks had been difficult but “we managed to reach an agreement in principle with extraordinary speed, in just three months.” He added that Japan was initially expecting to close the deal on January 1st.
This deal also means that Britain’s exports to Japan will be tariff-free, which could increase trade by 15.2 billion pounds ($19.4 billion) in the long term.