Executives' Comments  Comment by Chairman   Chairman Nakanishi's Comments regarding the Agreement in Principle on the Japan-UK Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement

September 11, 2020
(Japan Business Federation)

Keidanren wholeheartedly welcomes the agreement in principle on the Japan-UK Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. We would like to express our respect for the efforts by the Government of Japan and all concerned, who have been able to conduct intensive negotiations in such a short period of time and reach an agreement. We strongly hope that both Japan and the United Kingdom expedite the necessary procedures in order to bring the Agreement into force by no later than January 1, 2021, so that bilateral free trade and investment can continue without interruption.

Many Japanese companies operate in the UK and develop supply chains not only between Japan and the UK but also throughout the European Union. Therefore, a high-level and comprehensive agreement must be concluded between the UK and the EU as well. Keidanren hopes that the agreement in principle on the Japan-UK deal will accelerate the UK-EU negotiations.

Since the UK regards the Japan-UK EPA as a "stepping-stone" aimed at joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), we recognize the agreement in principle today has paved the way toward this aim. Further progress on this issue is highly anticipated.

Rule-making under the WTO is currently stagnant and many countries have turned inward during the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe the agreement in principle on the Japan-UK EPA could lead to the above positive developments, which would complement the multilateral trading system and contribute to the realization of further free, open trade and investment.