The EU and Japan agree on free trade

The European Uinion and Japan have today (July 6) reached a political agreement on a new free trade agreement, according to the Scotch Whisky Association.

SWA chief executive Karen Betts (pictured), said: “We welcome today’s political agreement between the EU and Japan, and hope this will lead quickly to a deal being finalised, ratified and introduced.

“A free trade agreement (FTA) between two of the world’s largest economies will have wide-reaching benefits across a range of sectors and progress is especially welcome during the Brexit process, at a time when the future direction of trade policy is being considered.

“While scotch whisky already enjoys a zero tariff in Japan, the FTA is important to the industry and introduces specific legal protection for scotch whisky in Japan for the first time.

“We support the UK Government’s objective to ensure the benefits of trade deals such as EU-Japan and others already in place, including agreements with Korea, Colombia and Vietnam, are secured after Brexit and effective transitional arrangements are introduced. The UK can then pursue new FTAs with other countries and demonstrate its commitment to open markets,” said Betts.

Scotch Whisky exports to Japan reached £82 million by customs value in 2016, an 8% increase on 2015. Japan is currently scotch whisky’s 13th largest export market by value, according to the SWA.