Japan would welcome UK to pacific trade bloc ‘with open arms’

Japan would welcome UK to pacific trade bloc ‘with open arms’

Monday, October 8, 2018

Britain would be welcomed into the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact “with open arms” by Japan, the country’s Prime Minister has said.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also urged the use of “wisdom” during Brexit talks in order to a no deal withdrawal from the EU.

Mr Abe said the UK would lose its role as a gateway to the EU after Brexit, but would still be a country "equipped with global strength".

The TPP is an 11-nation trade agreement which includes Japan, Canada, Australia and Mexico.

US President Donald Trump withdrew America from the pact soon after entering the White House.

The UK would only be able to join the bloc if it was outside the EU customs union and was able to set its own tariffs.

Referring to withdrawal talks between London and Brussels, the Japanese Prime Minister told the Financial Times: "I hope that both sides can contribute their wisdom and at least avoid a so-called disorderly Brexit.

"I truly hope that the negative impact of Brexit to the global economy, including Japanese businesses, will be minimised."


EU leaders insist substantive progress

British Prime Minister Theresa May and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan at Chequers in 2017

This comes as European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker sounded upbeat as he signalled that a deal could be made in time for an important EU summit in less than two weeks’ time over the weekend.

Mr Juncker told Austrian media: "I have reason to think that the rapprochement potential between both sides has increased in recent days."

Time is running out for London and Brussels to strike a deal as EU leaders insist substantive progress must have been made by a leaders' summit on October 17 for the bloc to agree a further Brexit gathering in November.

In the run-up to the summit, Brussels is expected to release a draft policy paper on Brexit this week.

EU leaders have already expressed concern at prime features of the Chequers plan such as the UK collecting tariffs on behalf of the EU.

Tory hardline Brexiteers want a much looser association with the EU than envisaged by Chequers, one that would be close to a wider-ranging version of the free trade deal Brussels has agreed with Canada.