SCOTCH WHISKY & SATSUMA SHOCHU AMONG G.I.s PROTECTED IN JAPAN-UK FREE TRADE DEAL
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
Source: Kagoshima Travel Bureau
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi will arrive in the United Kingdom today to finalise talks over a free-trade agreement to include geographical indication (GI) protections covering Scotch Whisky and Satsuma Shochu.
The JiJi Press news agency quoted sources as saying that the two countries are in the final stages of talks to make the protections as strong as those laid out in Japan’s free trade agreement with the European Union.
On top of Satsuma Shochu, which is a spirit distilled from sweet potatoes, other Japanese products to be protected are said to include Yubari melons and Kobe beef.
Motegi’s three-day UK visit is the first overseas trip for a Japanese minister since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said in a regular press briefing in Tokyo yesterday that he want to engage in intensive final stage consultations with his counterparts before the Brexit transition period expires at the end of the year.
He also said that around 20 chapters of the agreement have been agreed by the two side in the two-month period since negotiations began.
"In the UK, I plan to talk to [British Trade Secretary Elizabeth] Truss on the rapid conclusion of a new Japan-UK economic partnership, which hopefully will be a final stage consultation," Motegi told reporters in Tokyo yesterday.
He will also meet with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to discuss geopolitical issues including a "free and open" Indo-Pacific, security and defence cooperation, and coronavirus control measures.
The UK’s transition period for exit from the European Union ends this year, after that the country will be excluded from the EU-Japan free trade agreement.
To allow smooth trading between Japan and the UK, the two countries have to enter into a bi-lateral trade agreement before the transition period expires.
According to UK government’s data, the bi-lateral between Japan and UK was worth £29 billion (USD38b) in 2018. It forecasts that a Japan-UK free trade agreement could boost trade by £15.2b in the long term.
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