Japan trade minister Hiroshi Kajiyama

Japan to push for early scrapping of UK auto tariffs in trade talks

TOKYO — Japan will seek for an early elimination of automobile and auto parts tariffs in negotiations on a post-Brexit trade agreement with Britain.

After decades outsourcing its trade policy to the European Union, Britain is embarking on negotiating free trade deals with countries around the world including Japan.

“In the negotiations, we hope to urge Britain to bring forward the period for which tariffs will be removed mainly for autos and auto parts … as well as adopt high-level rules on digital trade,” trade minister Hiroshi Kajiyama told a news conference on Tuesday.

Japan trade minister Hiroshi Kajiyama
Japan wants Britain to remove tariffs for autos and auto parts, trade minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said.

Japan was Britain’s fourth-biggest non-EU trading partner in 2019, with trade between the two countries totaling 31.4 billion pounds ($39.91 billion), according to government statistics.

Britain hopes ultimately to join the 11-member Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and sees trade talks with Japan as a step toward that end.

On Tuesday Japan and Britain agreed to start talks on a trade deal.

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi welcomed interest expressed by British Trade Minister Liz Truss to join the Trans-Pacific free trade pact,.

“Both ministers agreed to start negotiations to build a new economic partnership and work towards an early agreement to secure business continuity for both countries,” a foreign ministry statement said on Tuesday.

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