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NPA welcomes UK-Japan trade deal

11th Sep 2020 / By Alistair Driver

The NPA has welcomed confirmation of a new Free Trade Agreement between the UK and Japan that could potentially boost pork exports. 

Liz TrussThe UK’s first major trade deal as an independent trading nation was agreed in principle by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Japan’s Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu on a video call this morning.

The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement will increase trade with Japan by an estimated £15.2 billion, according to the Government.

Japan is the largest net importer of agri-food products worldwide as it lacks sufficient agricultural land to feed its large population, relying on imports for around 60% of the food it consumes. It is currently the UK’s 4th largest non-EU export market. 

The EU already has an FTA with Japan, which is seen as being very beneficial to farmers as it provides duty free access for around 85% of EU agri-food products.

 But the Department for International Trade said the deal was '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'.

Among the specific elements announced are 'strong tariff reductions for UK pork and beef exports'.  The Department said: "We have negotiated a deal that sees tariffs fall on pork, beef, salmon and a range of other agricultural exports. We will continue to benefit from access to the low tariffs for key food and drink products covered by quotas, such as Stilton cheese, tea extracts and bread mixes."

This forms a pathway to further market access under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which is intended to give UK businesses 'a gateway to the Asia-Pacific region and help to increase the resilience and diversity of our supply chains'.

Japan is relatively a small market for us at the moment. In the 12 months to June 2020, we exported 2,500t of pig meat worth £3.25m, AHDB figures show. AHDB has produced a country focus report on Japan that you can read here

Ms Truss said: "This is a historic moment for the UK and Japan as our first major post-Brexit trade deal. The agreement we have negotiated – in record time and in challenging circumstances – goes far beyond the existing EU deal, as it secures new wins for British businesses in our great manufacturing, food and drink, and tech industries."

NPA reaction

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said: "This is potentially very good news for the UK industry. We are delighted that our lobbying efforts with the DIT have been recognised with the specific mention of pork. 

"Of course, the EU-Japan deal is already a good one for farmers, but we hope this, as the Government promises, can improve on it, and provide opportunities for the UK pig sector to build on a lucrative market."