As trade talks with Japan begin, joining the Asia Pacific trade bloc is a 'key priority' for the UK

Tue 9 Jun 2020
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

UK Japan

The UK and Japan are today beginning talks for a trade deal which could boost the UK economy by £1.5bn.

The current EU-Japan deal will form the basis of the negotiations, with the UK looking to secure additional benefits for digital trade and closer financial cooperation.

The government said that the talks represent a first step in its plans to join the Comprehensive Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which it calls a “a key UK priority”.


Liz Truss, the Secretary of State for trade, said she hopes the negotiations will be concluded before the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020.

"We aim to strike a comprehensive free trade agreement that goes further than the deal previously agreed with the EU, setting ambitious standards in areas such as digital trade and services,” she said.

Key stats

  • Japan is the third largest economy in the world with a GDP of $5.18 trillion (source:
  • UK-Japan trade totalled at £31.4bn last year (source: BBC)
  • UK exports to Japan in the four quarters to the end of Q1 2019 were valued at £14.6bn (source:
  • This figure is an 8.5% increase on the same period for the previous year.
  • 9,500 UK-based businesses export to Japan (source: BBC)
  • Japan’s ecommerce market is set to increase by 29% between 2019 and 2022 to be worth $203.9bn (source:
  • Japan ranks 29th in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ rankings (source:

Trans-Pacific Partnership

CPTPP is a free trade bloc representing 496 million consumers from Asia-Pacific region: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

It currently represents 13% of global GDP and this would increase to 16% if the UK were to join. Truss said Japan supports the UK’s ambitions to join the partnership.