Labour MEPs: EU-Japan trade deal is yet more proof UK must secure the fullest possible access post-Brexit

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Labour MEPs have warned that unless Britain secures a Brexit deal with the fullest possible access, it will not enjoy the benefits of the new EU-Japan trade deal, the initial agreement of which was signed in Brussels today. The deal will remove tariffs from 99 per cent of goods traded between the European Union and Japan, and contains no mention of the controversial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS).

David Martin MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on the EU-Japan trade deal, said:

“This is good news for the EU as the deal will guarantee new opportunities for EU exporters in Japan especially in the agri-food sector by eliminating tariffs on exports of EU dairy products and the protection of more than 200 geographical indications, making it harder to pass off cheap knock offs as originals.

“At the same time this is bad news for the UK as, under the hard Brexit we seem to be heading towards, we will be outside the customs union and not part of the deal, and in the absence of any future EU-UK free trade agreement, we will receive a much worse treatment in the EU market than Japanese goods.

“This will be the case in particular for cars - while the Japanese will pay zero duties after a transitional period of seven years, the UK would pay the WTO duty of 10 per cent. If that happens if will greatly disincentivise Japanese car companies from investing in Britain.”

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, member of the European Parliament international trade committee, said:

“As a result of growing opposition to EU trade policy and falling trust in negotiators, the EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström promised greater transparency in the EU-Japan negotiations, disappointingly they have been conducted in ‘radio silence’ without the publication of the EU’s mandate or basic negotiating texts. This should now be done urgently to allow full scrutiny of the agreement.

“However, it seems that one positive development is the full exclusion of investor-state dispute settlement from the talks. If true this would be a big step forward in ridding trade deals of privileges for multinational investors to sue governments.

“Now we'll wait to see the detail of the deal and hope the UK will be able to benefit from its promise of increased market access in the future. If the UK does not remain part of this trade deal after Brexit, it will have to negotiate one from scratch, and in the meantime British businesses will lose out and jobs will be at risk.”

Thursday, July 6, 2017

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