Emily Thornberry – 2020 Comments on Trade Agreement Between UK and Japan

The comments made by Emily Thornberry, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, on 11 September 2020.

This agreement is a welcome and necessary step to maintain our current trading arrangements with Japan beyond December 31st, and to extend access for British companies in some key sectors. However, it is important to put it in perspective.

Trade with Japan represented 2.21% of our global total last year, and under the best case scenario put forward by the government, today’s agreement will see that total increase by just 0.07 percentage points each year, simply maintaining the levels of growth seen since 2015, and preserving the forecast benefits of the current EU-Japan agreement.

That all compares to the 47% of our global trade that we currently have with the EU. So necessary as this agreement is, the government’s over-riding priority has to be securing the oven-ready deal that they promised us with Europe, which Japanese companies like Nissan have told us is crucial to the future of the investment and jobs they bring to Britain.