Post-Brexit Trade Talks Begin With Japan

12 Jun 2020, 56 mins ago

The Department for International Trade confirmed earlier this week that talks between International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, and the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Motegi Toshimitsu, had begun with the aim of securing a post-Brexit free trade deal between the UK and Japan.

Trade deals typically take years to finalise, yet the UK ambitiously hopes to reach a deal with Japan by the end of this year. Without a deal in place by 1 January 2021, both countries will default to World Trade Organisation trading terms, which would result in additional fees and obstacles to commerce between the two countries. 

Japan is currently the UK’s fourth-largest non-EU trading partner. According to statistics published by the UK Government, trade between the UK and Japan totaled £31.4bn in 2019, with more than 9,500 UK-based businesses exporting goods and services to Japan.

The negotiations are said to expand on current EU-Japan arrangements, with focus on securing additional benefits in certain areas, including digital trade. Ms Truss confirmed that the UK Government aims “to strike a comprehensive free trade agreement that goes further than the deal previously agreed with the EU, setting ambitious standards in areas such as digital trade and services”. 

This falls in line with the UK’s hopes of enticing highly skilled migrants in the fields of science, technology and digitalisation. The Home Office has recently introduced various immigration routes, including the Start-UpInnovator, and Global Talent visas, aimed at championing migrants in the research, science, digital and technology industries, in order to place the UK firmly at the global forefront of innovation. The UK Government has also pledged to increase public R&D investment to £22bn per year by 2024-25, investing these funds in people, ideas and industries within science and technology. This measure is said to be the fastest and largest expansion of its kind in support of researchers and innovative businesses, placing the UK among the top quarter of OECD nations, ahead of the US, Japan, France and China.

Regarding the trade talks, Ms Truss stated that “this deal will provide more opportunities for businesses and individuals across every region and nation of the UK and help boost our economies following the unprecedented economic challenges posed by coronavirus”.

It is expected that “a trade deal with Japan will also advance the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which will improve market access for UK businesses across the Asia-Pacific region”. The CPTPP is an 11-member trade agreement including Australia and Chile. Membership of the CPTPP would provide the UK with significantly improved access to markets and trade opportunities across the Asia-Pacific region.

The UK Government has already initiated trade talks with the US and Europe, in a bid to secure deals by the end of the year.

The introduction of the Global Talent route further reflects the UK Government’s intention to bolster scientific and technological research, providing migrants within these industries with unparalleled opportunities. In addition, the Start-Up and Innovator routes were introduced in March 2019, allowing migrants to establish innovative businesses in the UK. 

Gherson has extensive experience in Innovator, Start-Up and Global Talent visa applications. Should you require any assistance or advice in regards to any of these immigration routes, please contact Gherson.

Please note that the information in this blog is current at the date and time of posting. We shall be monitoring all aspects of UK immigration which may be impacted by Brexit, so please do keep updated with further blogs and articles which we will be posting on this site.


The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2020


Navka Raja 

  Navka Raja

  Immigration Consultant and Trainee Solicitor in our Private Client department