Liz Truss celebrates trade deal with Japan which UK already had before Brexit

Liz Truss speaking to Japan's Minister for Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi at the Department for I

Liz Truss speaking to Japan's Minister for Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi at the Department for International Trade. Photograph: Andrew Parsons/Crown Copyright/No10 Downing Street/PA Wire . - Credit: PA

The government has insisted its first major post-Brexit trade deal brings in more benefits than the one the UK had with the EU, despite much of the detail reflecting what the country enjoyed before Brexit.

International trade secretary Liz Truss said it is a 'historic moment' for the two countries which will bring 'new wins' for British businesses in the manufacturing, food and drink, and data and digital industries.

The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was agreed in principle by Truss and Japan's foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi in a video call on Friday morning.

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Truss said: 'This is a historic moment for the UK and Japan as our first major post-Brexit trade deal.

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'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.

'From our automotive workers in Wales to our shoemakers in the North of England, this deal will help build back better as we create new opportunities for people throughout the whole of the UK and help level up our country.

'Strategically, the deal is an important step towards joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership and placing Britain at the centre of a network of modern free trade agreements with like-minded friends and allies.'

Anti-Brexit campaigners were quick to point out the deal was broadly similar to the one the UK already had with the EU.

One said: 'The Japan trade deal is to roll-over keep EXISTING Japan trade. These are NOT new export opportunities. In the meantime we could lose UK trade with EU = £300bn'.

Julie Owen Moylan posted: 'Your reminder that we already had a trade deal with Japan via the massive EU/Japan deal.'

Others mocked the fact the government may end up reneging on the contract, like with the Withdrawal Agreement.

Tiernan Douieb wrote: 'Great news about the trade deal with Japan, but I give it a month before the Department for Trade announces that they didn't read it properly and have no idea who wrote it, so now need to change it to allow Japan to hunt people from Wales.'

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