ENGLISH SPARKLING WINES AMONG G.I.s TO BE PROTECTED BY UK-JAPAN FREE TRADE DEAL
By Siulan Law Mathews DipWSET
Credit: Siulan Law Mathews
The UK and Japan agreed in principle last Friday to enter into a free trade agreement potentially covering over 70 UK geographical indications (GIs) including English sparkling wine, Scotch Whisky, Yorkshire Wensleydale and Welsh lamb.
The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement will be the UK’s first major free trade deal after exiting from the European Union.
The UK government said in a statement issued last Friday that protection of GIs will increase from just seven under the terms of the EU-Japan deal to potentially over 70 under the new UN-Japan agreement.
Iconic products like English sparkling wine, Scotch Whisky, Yorkshire Wensleydale and Welsh lamb are to be protected.
The Wine Chronicle reported earlier that Japanese GI products like Satsuma Shochu (a sweet potato spirit), Yubari melons and Kobe beef will be protected by the deal.
Dominic Goudie, Head of International Trade of Food and Drink Federation, said: “UK food and drink manufacturers are delighted to hear the UK has concluded a comprehensive new trade deal with Japan. As the world’s largest net importer of food and drink, this deal with Japan improves our existing terms of trade and offers significant new growth opportunities for quality UK manufacturing. We particularly welcome the additional flexibility this deal delivers in terms of rules of origin which are so crucial for our industry.”
The UK government also said 99% of exports to Japan will be tariff free under the new agreement. It said UK manufacturers, food and drink producers and the tech sector are all set to benefit from the deal.
On top of GI protection, the UK government said the deal will also improve market access for UK financial services, enhance mobility for business people, enable free flow of data, allow more generous market access for UK malt and support UK car and rail manufacturing.
Liz Truss, UK International Trade Secretary, said: “The agreement we have negotiated – in record time and in challenging circumstances – goes far beyond the existing EU deal, as it secures new wins for British businesses in our great manufacturing, food and drink, and tech industries.”
The UK’s transition period for exit from the EU 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 trade 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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