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Japan-UK post-Brexit trade deal to take effect Fri.

Japan-UK. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A post-Brexit trade deal between Japan and the United Kingdom is set to come into force Friday, ensuring business continuity and strengthening the bilateral relationship as London seeks to join the larger Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.

    The two countries signed the bilateral FTA in October as the existing Japan-European Union trade pact no longer covers the United Kingdom beyond Thursday, the end of the transition period following its exit from the European Union in January 2020.

    A lack of an agreement may have resulted in impositions of higher tariffs on both countries.

    The deal largely duplicates the Japan-EU FTA, including gradual elimination of British tariffs on Japanese cars by 2026 and immediate removal of its duties on most Japanese agricultural goods such as beef and tea.

    Under the pact, Japan did not set new preferential treatment for British agricultural imports, although the issue was a major sticking point in their four months of negotiations through October.

    Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and British International Trade Secretary Liz Truss signed the agreement in Tokyo. The deal with Japan was the United Kingdom's first trade pact with a major economy following its departure from the European Union.

    Both sides completed the domestic ratification process in December.

    Rules on e-commerce and financial services set in the Japan-Britain deal have become more ambitious than in the Japan-EU pact, including a prohibition on governments requesting businesses to disclose algorithms used in artificial intelligence technology and encryption data.

    London said the agreement with Tokyo is a major stepping stone as it aspires to join the TPP, a regional FTA formerly called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

    The partnership involves 11 countries such as Japan, Australia, Canada and Vietnam.

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