The agreement is essentially in line with the Economic Partnership Agreement reached in February 2019 between the European Union and Japan.  On 23 October 2020, Japan and the United Kingdom officially entered into force the terms of a new Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which is due to come into force on 1 January 2021. It was the first post-Brexit trade deal the UK has reached with a major trading partner. The UK has been under pressure to reach the deal with Japan before the transitional Brexit period expires at the end of the year, leading the UK to no longer benefit from favourable trading conditions with the world`s third-largest economy under the European Union`s Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the world`s third-largest economy1. Faced with the complexity of the upcoming trade negotiations, including possible free trade agreements with the United States and the European Union, the United Kingdom has been under additional pressure to demonstrate its ability to maintain favourable trade conditions independently of Brussels. After the publication of the full text of the agreement, which is linked to its signing, there is a general consensus that the EPA between Britain and Japan essentially resembles the EU-Japan EPA, but that there are several differences by which the UK has shown the world that it can achieve its trade ambitions after Brexit. Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi also expressed a positive view of the agreement and said it was “more advanced and higher” than the EU-Japan EPA. Nevertheless, critics remain sceptical that subsequent improvements to the UK are substantial enough to clearly support the idea that the UK`s bargaining power grew after Brexit. Both sides pledged to improve market access by reducing or removing tariffs as an important pillar of the agreement. The United Kingdom has agreed to gradually reduce tariffs on Japanese cars to zero by 2026 and to immediately eliminate tariffs on locomotives and auto parts. However, these provisions are broadly identical to those of the EPA INTER the EU and Japan and do not have a major distinguishing feature.
Over the past 15-20 years, the UK automotive industry has grown disproportionately (up to 50%). from Japanese car manufacturers such as Honda, Toyota and Nissan, which operate in the UK. As a result, the recent relocation of large plants (in response to concerns about supply chain profitability) is hurting domestic production, skills and employment.