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A little ray of light shone on “Global Britain” from the U.K.’s new and improved rollover trade deal with Japan, which was agreed in principle on Friday and is the first independent deal the U.K. has signed after leaving the EU.
It’s not only a welcome diversion from Britain’s troubled negotiations with the EU on their future relationship but also a big win for U.K. Trade Secretary Liz Truss who, from a political perspective, is seen carrying the flag of Britain’s future out of the EU through the agreement (in principle, for now) with Japan’s Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu. The deal, which took a little over three months to conclude, is expected to be signed soon and its text will be available in October.
After the deal was announced on Friday, however, trade experts said it will be hard to say exactly how far the U.K.-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement pushes beyond Japan’s deal with the EU until they get their hands on the details of the text.
The deal is not expected to improve on the 0.07 percent increase (some £1.5 billion over the long term) to British GDP from the agreement forecast by the government. But it will increase trade with Japan by about £15.2 billion. Although Japan makes up 2 percent of British trade, there is still lots to be thankful for in the agreement, experts said. We’ve rounded up five of the most promising things:
The substance of the deal is almost as important as its political implications — showing that the dream of Global Britain is alive and well.