UK and Japan agree on principle to free trade deal

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on day three of the G7 Summit on August 26, 2019 in Biarritz, France.

Andrew Parsons – Pool | Getty Images

LONDON — The U.K. and Japan on Friday agreed in principle to a trade deal, in a move that sees the U.K. strike its first major agreement post-Brexit.

The announcement, which the U.K. hailed as a “historic moment,” comes as Britain struggles to secure an agreement with its closest trading partners in the European Union.

Britain said U.K. businesses would benefit from tariff-free trade on 99% of exports to Japan.

The tentative agreement, which will require the approval of both the U.K. and Japanese parliaments, is scheduled to come into the force at the end of the year.

“This is a historic moment for the UK and Japan as our first major post-Brexit trade deal,” Liz Truss, U.K. international trade secretary, said in a statement.

“Strategically, the deal is an important step towards joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership and placing Britain at the centre of a network of modern free trade agreements with like-minded friends and allies,” Truss said.

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