UK-Japan trade deal offers boost to Scottish businesses

Monday September 14th, 2020

Scottish wild salmon, Scotch beef and lamb are among 14 iconic Scottish products that could be protected in Japan for first time as part of the UK-Japan trade deal. Scotch whisky will also continue to benefit.Scottish Flag

The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was agreed in principle by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Japan Foreign Minister on a video call on Friday morning (11 September). It is the UK’s first major trade deal outside the EU.

The deal secures additional benefits beyond the EU-Japan trade deal, including a way for Scottish products to be officially recognised. By increasing geographical indications (GIs) from just seven under the terms of the EU-Japan deal to potentially over 70 under the UK-Japan agreement, this would lead to improved recognition of key UK brands in the Japanese market.

Products that could benefit from the new arrangements are: Arbroath smokies, Ayrshire New Potatoes/ Ayrshire Earlies, Bonchester cheese, native Shetland wool, Orkney beef, Orkney lamb, Orkney Scottish island cheddar, Scotch beef, Scotch lamb, Scottish wild salmon, Shetland lamb, Stornoway black pudding, Teviotdale cheese and traditional Ayrshire Dunlop cheese.

The removal of several trade barriers aims to assist the UK’s 8,000 SMEs already exporting goods to Japan, by offering tariff-free trade on 99% UK exports to Japan. Scottish food producers like Walkers Shortbread will benefit from lower tariffs.

One business already experiencing success in the Japanese market is the manufacturer of luxury wool fabrics, Harris Tweed Hebrides. Supported by the Department for International Trade (DIT), Harris Tweed Hebrides already exports 25% of its overall business to Japan.

Founded in 2007, Harris Tweed Hebrides plays an integral part in the Lewis & Harris community, by providing sustainable, rural employment.

Other key benefits of the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement include:

  • Cutting-edge digital & data provisions that go far beyond the EU-Japan deal, including enabling free flow of data, a commitment to uphold the principles of net neutrality and a ban on data localisation that will prevent British businesses from having the extra cost of setting up servers in Japan.
  • New protections for UK creative industries – British businesses can now be confident that their brands and innovations will be protected. We have gone beyond the EU on provisions that tackle online infringement of IP rights, such as film and music piracy.
  • Strong tariff reductions for pork and beef exports – 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 CPTPP, which has been committed to by Japan as part of our agreement.
  • Improved mobility for business people – securing more flexibility for Japanese and British companies to move talent into each country, covering a range of UK skilled workers to enter Japan, from computer services to construction.

This is the first step towards the UK’s aim to become a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which will open up 11 key pacific markets for exporters, reducing tariffs for UK business (95% of goods traded between members are tariff-free).

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said:

“This is a historic moment for the UK and Japan. This is our first major post-Brexit trade deal and it goes far beyond the existing EU deal by securing new wins for British businesses including in our great manufacturing, food and drink, and tech industries.

From our Scotch beef and lamb farmers to our Scottish wild salmon and Orkney Scottish island cheddar, this deal will create new opportunities for people throughout the whole of the UK and help level up our country.

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 liken-minded friends and allies.”

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