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UK secures free trade agreement with Japan in first major deal as independent trading nation

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FILE: Boris Johnson sits after bilateral talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the G7 summit in Biarritz, southwestern France, Aug. 26, 2019
FILE: Boris Johnson sits after bilateral talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the G7 summit in Biarritz, southwestern France, Aug. 26, 2019   -   Copyright  Neil Hall/AP Photo, File
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The United Kingdom has agreed to a free trade agreement with Japan in their first major trade deal post-Brexit.

The British government said the deal will increase trade with Japan by £15.2 billion (€16.5 billion).

The agreement was decided on Friday on a video call between International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Japan’s Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu.

"UK businesses will benefit from tariff-free trade on 99% of exports to Japan," a statement from the Department for International Trade said.

Truss said the deal was "historic", adding that it was negotiated "in record time and in challenging circumstances".

"[It] 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," she said in a statement.

The announcement comes as negotiations between the UK and the European Union took a turn after a British internal market bill advised overriding parts of the 2019 withdrawal agreement in breach of international law.

EU officials said yesterday that they wouldn't shy away from taking legal action against the UK.

The UK government said the deal with Japan would boost the economy by £1.5 billion (€1.6 billion) and increase UK workers’ wages by £800 million (€866 million).

The British government said the deal included lower tariffs on pork, beef and salmon exports, reduced tariffs on Japanese car parts, improved access for UK goods and would enable free flow of data.