Both sides were hoping for a deal this week | Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images
Japanese foreign minister to leave London without trade deal
UK government says good progress made but both sides had hoped for an agreement this week.
Updated 8/7/20, 5:41 PM CET
LONDON — Britain and Japan were unable to announce a new trade deal Friday after two days of intense high-level political negotiations in London.
From August 6 to 7 Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Tokyo’s chief negotiator wrangled with British Trade Secretary Liz Truss and her team to get the deal closer to the finish line, though didn’t quite cross it. The politicians did not hold a joint press conference after talks wrapped up Friday.
“Negotiations have been positive and productive, and we have reached consensus on the major elements of a deal — including ambitious provisions in areas like digital, data and financial services,” Truss said.
Truss added that these go “significantly beyond” the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement that the U.K. deal is based on and added the two sides aim “to reach a formal agreement in principle by the end of August.”
Time is short, and although both sides were hoping for a deal this week, there is still time to get one through the country’s parliamentary Diet. Britain wants the deal ready to sign in September. The U.K. has indicated a few elements remain outstanding and underscores that it will not accept rollbacks on U.K. market access.
The deal is based on the EU’s deal with Japan that took effect last year and that Japan decided not to roll over to the U.K.