The Uk-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa)

The House of Commons International Trade Committee (ITC) and the House of Lords Subcommittee on International Agreements have both published reports on the agreement. The ITC welcomed the signing of the agreement and the security and continuity that results. The commission stated: “While the differences between the EPA and JEEPA may not be as significant as claimed, there are notable exceptions, particularly the numerical data and data and financial services provisions.” The committee recommended that the agreement be debated in the House of Commons. The agreement appears, for two reasons, to create only limited economic value, which is in addition to “continuity.” Firstly, the free trade agreement between Japan and the United Kingdom alone cannot replicate the trilateral relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom, which existed when the UK was part of the EU internal market and the common trade policy, and when Japanese and British companies engaged in chains of global value and supply chains in Europe , were very dependent. Recalling that the main concerns of Japanese companies operating in Europe are regulatory changes, tariffs and an end to the free movement of people between the EU and the UK (following the UK`s exit from the customs union and the internal market), the end of the smooth functioning of trade between the EU and the UK is seriously damaging the economy , even if the EU and the UK successfully reach a free trade agreement. Many of the changes to the EPA between Japan and the United Kingdom reflect changing circumstances in the United Kingdom, so they are more technical than material. These include removing and replacing references to the EU and changing the territorial application of the agreement. However, the comparison between the two agreements on trade in goods, services (including financial services), intellectual property and digital commerce has been the subject of a number of significant changes. These improvements are summarized below. Contrary to its political importance, the economic value of the free trade agreement is most often “continuity.” It allows Japan and the UK to move smoothly from the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) to the Japan-UK Free Trade Agreement on 1 January 2021. Given the growing risk of non-agreement on future EU-UK relations, the prevention of business interruptions between Japan and the United Kingdom has been of the utmost importance to Japanese and British operations, particularly for Japanese companies operating in Europe.

The agreement between Japan and the United Kingdom also aims to strengthen the annex to regulatory cooperation, including the creation of an ongoing regulatory cooperation forum between HM Treasury, the Bank of England, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Financial Services Agency of Japan.