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Brexit revives EU-Japan trade talks

EU diplomats have hinted that the 17th round of talks on the EU-Japan trade agreement which concluded on 30 September could break the current deadlock. Officials are reporting that the deal, which was effectively dormant, is now revived. Japan has also sent a top level civil servant for this round.

The head of the European Parliament’s group on relations with Japan, MEP Petr Ježek, said: “If Britain keeps access to the single market, an option that seems unlikely at this point, Japanese companies won’t have to worry, but if the U.K. goes for the World Trade Organization option, Japanese companies will face a problem.”

The UK has long served as an export platform to the rest of the single market for Japan’s manufacturers, receiving about a third of total FDI of that country towards the EU. High tariffs associated with the single market, on cars especially, could deliver a serious blow to Japanese firms in the UK. The EU is therefore revamping a tariff offer to Japan which would, as part of the FTA, completely phase out tariffs on cars exported by Japan.

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