Ratifying the EU-Japan trade deal is the UK's first step to secure its own ambitious agreement with Japan post-Brexit, Conservative MEP Syed Kamall said today after the European Parliament's trade committee approved the deal.
The EU-Japan deal is set to cut 99% of tariffs from EU goods exported to Japan, saving companies around €1 billion of duties each year. The deal, which both Japan and the UK are committed to continuing post-Brexit, is expected to increase British exports to the country by between £3.2 billion and £5.4 billion.
Dr Kamall, who has followed the agreement as shadow rapporteur, said after today's vote: "The EU-Japan deal is set to drastically cut the tariffs paid by more than 8000 British companies that export to Japan, which are mostly small and medium-sized businesses. However, this deal is a stepping stone for the UK's own agreement with Japan post-Brexit.
"Theresa May and the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzō Abe, have already agreed that the EU's deal should form the basis of our trading relationship after Britain leaves the European Union. It's something that the UK can look to improve on by joining the larger Trans-Pacific Partnership which brings together 11 countries in the world's third largest free trade area.
"Japan is already the UK's sixth largest trading partner supporting more than 90,000 jobs in the UK and Japanese investment employs 100,000 more. After Brexit, I believe that replicating this trade deal and tailoring it to suit both sides we can strengthen our trading relationship, boosting jobs, investment and our economy.
"I hope the EU can avoid the problems it faced with the Canada trade agreement when it was ratified. It's in both the UK and the EU's interests that this deal comes into force as soon as possible, so Britain can easily roll it over, and so European companies can begin to benefit from the reduction in tariffs."