The UK has secured a free trade agreement with Japan and will increase trade with Japan by an estimated £15.2 billion. The deal has been welcomes by the Scottish Chambers network.

The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was agreed in principle by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Japan’s Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu on Friday 11 September.

The deal is tailored to the UK economy and secures additional benefits beyond the EU-Japan trade deal, giving UK companies exporting to Japan a competitive advantage in a number of areas. It will help to create jobs and drive economic growth throughout the whole of the UK.

The deal is also an important step towards joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). This will give UK businesses a gateway to the Asia-Pacific region and help to increase the resilience and diversity of our supply chains.

UK businesses will benefit from tariff-free trade on 99% of exports to Japan. Government analysis shows that a deal with Japan will deliver a £1.5 billion boost to the UK economy and increase UK workers’ wages by £800 million in the long run.

The 30 local Chambers based across Scotland, together with its Chamber colleagues in Japan look forward to working with the UK Government to benefit from the new deal.

Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of SCC, is a special advisor to the UK’s Strategic Trade Advisory Group, and commented: “This is great news to have now signed the first free Trade Deal with Japan. It is an important market for many of our key Scottish products and services as well as an opportunity to sell Scotland to investors.

“We now need to work hard and fast to ensure that Scottish businesses are prepared and supported to access the opportunities this market provides.”

This view was supported by Jim Walker, Managing Director of Walkers Shortbread: “We welcome the news that a UK-Japan agreement has been agreed. Japan remains one of Walkers’ most important markets and sales have grown steadily there since first launching in Japan over 40 years ago.

“This deal will help provide certainty and create more opportunities to continue building sales in the future in a market where our products already enjoy success.”

Any businesses interested in exploring opportunities in the Japanese market should contact their local Chamber of Commerce, or Stuart Hamilton at SCC.