London, Aug. 6 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, now visiting London, said Thursday that Japan and Britain have achieved progress in their trade talks.
Speaking after a meeting with British International Trade Secretary Elizabeth Truss on concluding a new bilateral trade deal, Motegi also said he thinks the two sides have come to a better mutual understanding.
Motegi and Truss will meet again on Friday, the final day of their two-day meeting, to have further last-minute negotiations.
On Thursday, Motegi and Truss held intermittent talks at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in central London between around 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. local time.
“As working-level agreements had been reached for the most part, we negotiated the remaining important issues today,” Motegi said at a press conference after the talks.
When asked about the chances of the two countries reaching a broad agreement on Friday, Motegi said, “You never know what will happen but we’ll do our best.”
According to sources with access to the negotiations, the two nations have already agreed on digital trade rules and a scheme to protect their famous products such as Scotch whisky and Kobe beef.
In the ministerial talks, the Japanese side is seeking early removal of Britain’s automobile and auto parts tariffs, while Britain is calling on Japan to liberalize its farm market further, the sources said.
Japan and Britain kicked off their trade talks on June 9, following Britain’s exit from the European Union.
The two countries hope to put the new bilateral trade deal into effect, in time for the year-end expiration of the Brexit transition period, during which tariffs-related preferential measures under the Japan-EU economic partnership agreement continue to cover Britain.