Beyond Brexit—UK–Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement signed

Beyond Brexit—UK–Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement signed

The UK–Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) was concluded during a meeting in Tokyo between International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, and Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Motegi Toshimitsu, on 23 October 2020. The UK–Japan CEPA—first comprehensive free trade agreement to be signed by the UK as an independent trading nation—‘goes beyond’ the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, guaranteeing ‘bespoke benefits’ for businesses in the digital and data, financial services, food and drink, and creative industries. Strategically viewed as ‘an important step’ towards the UK joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the UK hopes that the UK–Japan CEPA will ‘strengthen trade ties’ between the UK and the CPTPP’s eleven members, while the UK also assumes the G7 presidency in 2021. With an ambition to secure free trade agreements with countries ‘covering 80% of UK trade’ by 2022, the Department for International Trade (DIT) is continuing its engagement with a number of existing EU trade partners.

What happens next?  

Following signature, the final UK–Japan CEPA text will be laid in parliament for 21 sitting days for scrutiny in accordance with the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. The government has produced a full explanatory report on the agreement as part of that process, ‘including any significant differences or enhancements between the UK-Japan CEPA and the EU–Japan Agreement’.

The government’s report is accessible here.

The DIT is continuing its engagement with a number of existing EU trade partners, in order to agree new arrangements to take effect after the end of the transition period. Where those arrangements are not in place, the UK will trade with World Trade Organization (WTO) members on WTO terms.

The document collection relating to the UK–Japan CEPA is accessible on DIT—Existing UK trade agreements with non-EU countries.

For commentary see News Analysis: Are the subsidies provisions in the UK/Japan FTA a suitable model for the UK/EU FTA?


• GOV.UK—World news story: UK and Japan sign free trade agreement

• GOV.UK—Press release: UK and Japan sign historic free trade agreement

• GOV.UK—Guidance: Summary of the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement

• GOV.UK—Collection: UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement

• GOV.UK—Promotional material: The UK-Japan comprehensive economic partnership: benefits for the UK

• GOV.UK—Policy paper: The UK’s trade relationship with Japan: parliamentary report

• GOV.UK—Impact assessment: UK-Japan CEPA: final impact assessment

For further detail, see: LNB News 23/10/2020 41.


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About the author:
Mikaela is a Paralegal in the Lexis®PSL Public Law team. She read law at King’s College London and obtained her LLM from University College London. With legal knowledge and experience in multiple jurisdictions and practice areas, and a special interest in international commercial law, Mikaela has comprehensive knowledge of the legal sector’s needs. 

Since joining the Lexis®PSL Public Law team in 2019, Mikaela’s primary focus has been closely monitoring legal developments in the context of Brexit. She also provides support on related subjects and content areas including Local Government and Information Law. Mikaela is involved in LNUK Thrive Wellbeing and Gender Equality Matters working groups and is a member of the LexisNexis Brexit Steering Group.