McGovern – Brexit could see UK lose trade deals with Japan, not gain them

Brexit could see the UK lose over a dozen agreements with Japan that have been negotiated through our membership of the European Union, research by the Open Britain campaign shows today. 

As the Prime Minister visits Japan with Liam Fox and a group of business leaders to discuss trade between the UK and Japan after Brexit, it has emerged that Britain’s exit from the European Union could see us lose out on existing deals with Japan from which we already benefit. 

These agreements include:

  • A deal on the transfer of nuclear material and other civil nuclear issues relating to EURATOM, which the UK Government has pledged to leave despite cross-party opposition in the UK;
  • Reducing red tape facing businesses trading in sectors including pharmaceuticals, electrical products and telecommunications equipment;
  • Cooperation between customs authorities to investigate breaches of customs rules;
  • Cooperation between competition authorities to prevent anti-competitive practices;
  • Multilateral cooperation on developing intelligent manufacturing systems (IMS);
  • Cooperation on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.

When Britain leaves the European Union, these agreements will be lost, unless the UK Government either negotiates identical bilateral deals with Japan, or negotiates to remain in the EU-Japan deals on a multilateral basis.

Open Britain believes the Government has two key questions to answer. First, what is their plan to retain these agreements post-Brexit? And second, if the UK does fall out of these agreements, what would be the economic cost and what, if any, contingency planning has been done? 

Commenting, Alison McGovern MP, leading supporter of Open Britain, said: 

“Theresa May and Liam Fox tell us that they are going to Japan to discuss a new trade deal. But with the Japanese reportedly not keen, they would be better concentrating on how making sure we retain the agreements we already have. 

“Sectors from the nuclear industry to our pharmaceutical companies will lose out from Brexit if these arrangements are not replicated immediately after we leave the EU.

“Ministers are guilty of magical thinking on trade. They continually talk up imaginary future deals of which we have seen no sign when they should get real and focus on nailing down existing agreements which benefit the British economy. 

/ends

Notes to editors:

This story is reported in The Independent today: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-japan-uk-trade-relations-nuclear-power-diplomacy-business-future-a7920631.html

A full list of bilateral agreements between the European Union and Japan is below:

1. Agreement between the European Union and Japan on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters

Scope: The purpose of the Agreement is the mutual provision of legal assistance between EU Member States and Japan to establish more effective cooperation between the European Union Member States and Japan in the area of mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.

Date of entry into force: 2nd January 2011

2. Agreement between the European Community and the Government of Japan on cooperation and mutual administrative assistance in customs matters

Scope: The Contracting Parties through their customs authorities shall assist each other, in the areas within their competence and within the limits of available resources, and in the manner and under the conditions laid down in this Agreement, to ensure the correct application of customs legislation, in particular by preventing, investigating and combating operations in breach of that legislation.

Date of entry into force: 1st February 2008

3. Agreement between the European Atomic Energy Community and the Government of Japan for the Joint Implementation of the Broader Approach Activities in the Field of Fusion Energy Research

Scope: To establish a framework for specific procedures and details for the joint implementation of broader approach activities in support of the ITER Project and an early realisation of fusion energy for peaceful purposes in accordance with the Joint Paper. - the Broader Approach Agreement comprises three main projects: 1. Engineering Validation and Engineering Design Activities for the International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility (Annex I) 2. International Fusion Energy Research Centre - IFERC (Annex II) 3. Satellite Tokamak Project (Annex III)

Date of entry into force: 1st June 2007

4. Agreement between the Government of Japan and the European Atomic Energy Community for co-operation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy

Scope: This agreement provides a new framework for Japan-EURATOM co-operation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It stipulates that the nuclear material, equipment and non-nuclear material subject to this Agreement should be used for peaceful and non-explosive purposes only, and that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, appropriate physical protection and other measures, should be applied to nuclear material. The Agreement also includes regulation for the retransfer of nuclear material, equipment and non-nuclear material subject to this Agreement beyond the territorial jurisdiction.

Date of entry into force: 20th December 2006

5. Exchange of Letters between the European Community and Japan pursuant to Article XXIV:6 and Article XXVIII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994

Scope: To agree on the modification of concessions in the schedules of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovak Republic following the accession to the EU.

Date of entry into force: 21st December 2005

6. Agreement between the European Community and the Government of Japan concerning cooperation on anti-competitive activities - Agreed minute

Scope: To contribute to the effective enforcement of the competition laws of Japan and the European Community through promoting cooperation and coordination between the competition authorities of the Parties and to avoid or lessen the possibility of conflicts between the Parties in all matters pertaining to the application of the competition laws of each Party.

Date of entry into force: 9th August 2003

7. Agreement on mutual recognition between the European Community and Japan - Annexes - Final Act - Joint Declarations - Exchange of letters

Scope: To facilitate trade in industrial products, by reducing the cost of certification procedures applied by both Parties to pharmaceuticals, chemicals, electrical products and telecommunications equipment.

Date of entry into force: 28th November 2001

8. Exchange of Letters recording the common understanding on the principles of international cooperation on research and development activities in the domain of intelligent manufacturing systems between the European Community and the United States of America, Japan, Australia, Canada and the EFTA countries of Norway and Switzerland

Scope: To develop international cooperation on intelligent manufacturing systems (IMS) between the EC, the United States, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the EFTA countries Norway and Switzerland.

Date of entry into force: 9th April 1997

9. Exchange of letters giving an account of the agreement identified in connection with the principles of international cooperation as regards research and development activities in the field of the intelligent manufacturing systems between the European Community and the United States of America, Japan, Australia, Canada and the AELE countries of Norway and of Switzerland (Switzerland) – Annex: Terms of reference for a programme of international cooperation on advanced manufacture 

Scope: To develop international cooperation on intelligent manufacturing systems (IMS) between the EC, the United States, Japan, Australia, Canada and the EFTA countries Norway and Switzerland.

Date of entry into force: 9th April 1997

10. Exchange of Letters recording the common understanding on the principles of international cooperation on research and development activities in the domain of intelligent manufacturing systems between the European Community and the United States of America, Japan, Australia, Canada and the EFTA countries of Norway and Switzerland

Scope: To develop international cooperation on intelligent manufacturing systems (IMS) between the EC, the United States, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the EFTA countries Norway and Switzerland.

Date of entry into force: 4th April 1997

11. Exchange of Letters recording the common understanding on the principles of international cooperation on research and development activities in the domain of intelligent manufacturing systems between the European Community and the United States of America, Japan, Australia, Canada and the EFTA countries of Norway and Switzerland (United States of America) - Annex: Terms of reference for a programme of international cooperation in advanced manufacturing

Scope: To develop international cooperation on intelligent manufacturing systems (IMS) between the EC, the United States, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the EFTA countries Norway and Switzerland.

Date of entry into force: 3rd April 1997

12. Exchange of Letters recording the common understanding on the principles of international cooperation on research and development activities in the domain of intelligent manufacturing systems between the European Community and the United States of America, Japan, Australia, Canada and the EFTA countries of Norway and Switzerland (Canada) - Annex: Terms of reference for a programme of international cooperation in advanced manufacturing

Scope: To develop international cooperation on intelligent manufacturing systems (IMS) between the EC, the United States, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the EFTA countries Norway and Switzerland.

Date of entry into force: 31st March 1997

13. Agreement for cooperation between the European Atomic Energy Community and the Government of Japan in the field of controlled thermonuclear fusion 

Scope: To maintain and intensify cooperation between the Parties in the areas covered by their respective fusion programmes, on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, in order to develop the scientific understanding and technological capability underlying a fusion power system.

Date of entry into force: 20th February 1989

One other agreement between the EU and Japan has been ratified but is yet to enter into force:

14. Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Diplomatic Notes with Japan in accordance with Article 15(3)(b) of the Agreement on Mutual Recognition (MRA) in order to amend Part B of the Sectoral Annex on Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) for medicinal products

Scope: To amend Part B of the Sectoral Annex on Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) for medicinal products.

Date of entry into force: tbc

All of these agreements can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/world/agreements/SimpleSearch.do by typing ‘Japan’ into the search engine. 

Back in July, the EU and Japan formally agreed the outline of a new free trade agreement. If this is ratified before the UK leaves the EU, the UK would miss out on its benefits through Brexit unless it could negotiate continued access to the deal.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40520218

At the time, European Council President Donald Tusk said: “In the context of the discussion about Brexit, we have heard statements claiming that it isn't worth being in the European Union, as it is easier to do global trade outside of the EU. Today we have shown that this is not true.”

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2017/07/06-tusk-remarks-press-conference-eu-japan-summit/

Reports earlier this week suggested that Japan would not rush into free trade talks with Britain, with Japanese officials saying their priority is completing the deal with Brussels, while negotiations with Britain will be difficult until there is clarity about its future relationship with the EU.

https://www.ft.com/content/0047b3c2-8b1e-11e7-a352-e46f43c5825d