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International Trade secretary Liz Truss today said good progress was being made on securing an agreement between the two countries, while dismissing earlier suggestions one could be unveiled today. Nevertheless, Daniel Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, suggested once a deal was struck, it would demonstrate the value of the UK once again being in charge of its own destiny.
It would be a huge victory, but it would also be practical common sense
He told Express.co.uk: “I believe the trade agreement which the United Kingdom is going to secure with Japan is going to be slightly better than the trade agreement which the European Union has with Japan.
“And if that is the case, then that really is going to put the cat amongst the pigeons.
“It would be a huge victory, but it would also be practical common sense.”
Mr Kawczysnki explained: “Because if you think about it, if you are negotiating on behalf of 28 countries, there are 28 separate vested interests to take into consideration.
“Therefore you have got to make an additional 28 compromises to accommodate all those vested interests.
“Now from what I have read, we do not need to protect certain industries or products because we do not produce them.
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“And so it is going to be a trade agreement which is more tailor-made to the financial demands and priorities of both countries.”
Speaking today, Ms Truss told Parliament: “We are making good progress in our negotiations with Japan.
“We want to achieve a deal which that EPA-plus in many areas, so for example would the data and digital chapter, that the EU were not able to sign up to, is a very exciting prospect for our digital industry, which is world-leading.
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“In terms of the number of billion-dollar tech companies we are third in the world after the US and China so there is a real chance to get a very positive deal with Japan.
“But again I won’t be pushed or bounced into agreeing a deal that is not in Britain’s interests just because of time constraints.”
Intensive negotiations in a bid to thrash out an accord between the two countries are ongoing, with broad agreement on the vast majority of the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement already in place.
A Department for International Trade spokesman told Express.co.uk: “A UK-Japan trade deal will help drive investment and create new opportunities for British businesses across the UK – from cattle farmers in Scotland, to financial services in Leeds, and digital designers firms in Cardiff.
“We’re coming to the final stages of negotiations and are optimistic about reaching agreement.
“Both the UK and Japan are committed to a deal that will enter into force by the end of 2020.”
Trade between the UK and Japan is estimated to be worth more than £30billion.
The two sides had hit a snag over earlier this month after reports they were split on the subject of tariffs on exports of blue cheese to Japan.
The situation was complicated somewhat by the resignation today of Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, for health reasons.
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