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The UK Department for International Trade said in a statement that the deal with its 11th biggest trading partner was agreed to in principle on Friday and will increase trade between the two countries by about £15.2 billion ($19.5 billion). UK businesses won’t face tariffs on 99% of exports to Japan, including on products such as knitwear, biscuits and coats.

“This is a historic moment for the UK and Japan as our first major post-Brexit trade deal,” said international trade secretary Liz Truss, who touted benefits for the manufacturing, food and drink, and tech industries.

Britain will no longer be covered by a EU-Japan free trade deal when the post-Brexit transition period expires at the end of this year. That deal removed tariffs on European exports, such as cheese and wine, and reduced barriers to Japanese car imports from 2019.

The UK government is now trying to replicate dozens of similar EU trade deals with third countries before its transitional agreement with the bloc expires. If the deals don’t materialize, British companies could face barriers to doing business in most of the foreign markets they serve, starting in January.

The deal with Japan means the United Kingdom has nailed down new agreements worth just 10% of its total trade in 2019, up from about 8% in January, according to Professor L Alan Winters, director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex.

The deal is “a benefit, but it’s not a giant leap forward,” said Winters. “It’s not a compensation for what you’re giving up in Europe,” he told CNN Business.

Modest benefit

A bilateral trade agreement with Japan could increase UK GDP in the long run by just £1.5 billion ($1.9 billion), or around 0.07%, according to the trade department, compared with an estimated 5.6% reduction in economic growth as a consequence of a no-deal Brexit, which looks increasingly likely. If a UK-EU trade deal were agreed, growth is still expected to decline by about 4.4% in the long run compared to what it would have been had Britain remained part of the bloc, according to Winters.
The UK government has negotiated even lower Japanese tariffs than the EU managed on certain agricultural products, including pork, beef and salmon, but not on Stilton cheese, which will be subject to the same tariffs as under the EU-Japan deal. Trade barriers in areas such as financial services, Britain’s biggest export to Japan, and the digital sector will also be reduced, primarily through increased coordination between regulators.
Japanese car manufacturers including Nissan (NSANF) will enjoy reduced tariffs on parts coming into the United Kingdom and streamlined regulatory procedures, according to the statement.

Other elements of the agreement will make it easier for businesses to move workers between the two countries. For example, an employee transferring from a UK company headquarters to a Tokyo office will be able to bring their spouse and dependents and stay for up to five years.

The total value of trade between the United Kingdom and Japan was just over £29 billion ($37.2 billion) in 2018, making it Britain’s 11th biggest trading partner that year. The United States, China and Switzerland are the only non-EU countries in the top 10, figures from the trade department show.

Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the Confederation of British Industry, the main business lobby, said in a statement that the deal will be “welcomed by businesses across the country.” “It’s a huge opportunity to secure new Japanese investment across a wider range of sectors and UK regions,” she added.

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Tony Chung: Hong Kong activist detained near US embassy charged

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Hong Kong teen activist Tony Chung has been charged under a new national security law, just days after he was detained outside the US consulate.

Mr Chung, 19, had reportedly planned to enter the consulate and claim asylum.

The activist faces the possibility of life in prison if found guilty of secession, conspiracy to publish seditious content and money laundering.

Mr Chung, the second person to be charged under the law, was denied bail by the court.

The controversial law was imposed by China on Hong Kong in June, making it easier to punish protesters and reducing the city’s autonomy.

What do we know about his detention?

According to the South China Morning Post, Mr Chung was detained on Tuesday morning at a coffee shop opposite the US consulate.

UK-based activist group Friends of Hong Kong said he had planned to enter and claim asylum. Instead, footage taken from near the consulate showed him being carried away by plain-clothes police.

Mr Chung, who was a former member of pro-independence group Studentlocalism, said activists had not given up fighting.

“At the right moment, we will come out to protest again,” he told BBC Chinese in a recent interview.

“Yes we lose at this moment. But the road to democracy is always long.”

He will remain in custody until his next court appearance on 7 January next year.

What is Hong Kong’s new security law?

Hong Kong’s national security law was imposed by Beijing in June after months of huge pro-democracy protests last year against an extradition bill.

The new law makes secession, subversion of the central government, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces punishable by up to life in prison.

In July, several were arrested under the new powers, including a man carrying a “Hong Kong Independence” flag.

  • China’s new law: Why is Hong Kong worried?

  • UK makes citizenship offer to Hong Kong residents

The law gives Beijing extensive powers it has never had before to shape life in the territory.

Critics say it effectively puts an end to the freedoms guaranteed by Beijing for 50 years after British rule ended in Hong Kong in 1997, but China says it will return stability to the city.

After the passing of the security law, the UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would offer up to three million Hong Kong residents a chance to settle in the UK and ultimately apply for citizenship.

China has condemned this, saying it would take countermeasures against the UK should it grant residency to Hong Kong residents.

Related Topics

  • Hong Kong national security law

  • China
  • Hong Kong

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AOC: ‘I don’t know if I’m really going to be staying in the House forever’

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President Donald Trump has taken particular pleasure in warning that Ocasio-Cortez poses a threat to Schumer, while describing prominent Democratic leaders including presidential nominee Joe Biden as beholden to her more liberal agenda.

Ocasio-Cortez is also viewed as one of the likeliest inheritors of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ progressive coalition if she were to run for president. The congresswoman, who endorsed Sanders in the 2020 White House race, turned 31 earlier this month and would meet the constitutional presidential age requirement of 35 by November 2024.

Another possibility is Ocasio-Cortez joining a potential Biden administration in some capacity. She was tapped in May to serve as a co-chair of the Biden-Sanders joint task force on climate change — one of six working groups meant to advise the Biden campaign on policy.

But Ocasio-Cortez told Vanity Fair she did not “want to aspire to a quote-unquote higher position just for the sake of that title or just for the sake of having a different or higher position.”

“I truly make an assessment to see if I can be more effective,” she said. “And so, you know, I don’t know if I could necessarily be more effective in an administration, but, for me that’s always what the question comes down to.”

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Covid: Macron promises solidarity for new French lockdown


Schools and universities will remain open and officer workers will stay home as President Emmanuel Macron places France into lockdown for the whole of November.

There will also be mandatory rapid Covid-19 testing for all international arrivals at the country’s ports and airports to ensure the virus is not brought in from other territories.

The president announced the new measures in a national address, pledging solidarity with French citizens adding “we will all get there together”.

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