London not only shows that the British do not need the EU to make deals while maintaining pressure on their own deal with the EU. London signed a post-BREXIT bilateral trade agreement with Tokyo in the midst of a crisis with the EU.
The Japan-UK deal was signed in a brief ceremony attended by UK International Trade Minister Liz Truss and Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.
“We have regained control of our trade policy, and we will continue to thrive as a trading nation outside the EU,” said British Prime Minister Tory Boris Johnson. “It goes much further than the existing agreement with the EU,” said UK Minister for International Trade Liz Truss. “It also secures major gains that would be impossible with EU membership,” London insisted.
Reading the reactions, of all European countries, it is with the United Kingdom that the Japanese feel the closest cultural proximity. Sovereign island states, constitutional monarchies with a multiparty system where 2 main parties alternate, a common tradition for conservative-liberal regimes, international commercial experience, the relatively stable social consensus in the 2 countries, driving on the left, so many common points to build a particularly effective industrial partnership for 40 years.
Japan: Strategic Ally of the United Kingdom.
The arrival of the Japanese in the United Kingdom in 1980 coincided with their search for new sources of growth in the automotive and electronics sectors, and with Thatcher’s policy support for investors. The London automobile industry is outdated; its historic brands MG, Austin, Morris, Rover, Triumph are no longer successful. The Japanese are not content with joint ventures and opt for 100% shareholdings with the creation of greenfield sites, new production sites where Japanese technique and organization dominate.
Between 1988 and 1995, the market share of Japanese car manufacturers in the European Community car market will rise from 11.8% to 18%. The British Isles are becoming the Trojan Horse of Japanese industry. More than 1,000 Japanese companies – including the industrial conglomerate Hitachi and the Big Three of Japanese car manufacturers Toyota, Nissan and Honda – are established in the United Kingdom, where they employ 140,000 people.
They often use the UK as a base to supply their European customers or oversee their activities in the EU. In 1991, the computer industry followed the same process with the entry of Fujitsu to the tune of 80% in the capital of the British Nr. 1 of the ICL era, with competitors (Siemens, Philips, Bull, Olivetti) from partner countries Europeans thought to recover the assets of a neighbouring group.
During a press conference, a French industrialist will describe the United Kingdom as a Japanese aircraft carrier off European coasts. After the 2008 financial crisis which particularly affected the British financial sector, Japan, caught up with Chinese competition, will maintain its presence in the UK just as the London will count on Japan to strengthen its economic interests in Asia.
This historic agreement does not stop at economic issues alone. In the summer of 2017, Theresa May was invited by her counterpart Shinzo Abe to a National Security Council, a rare privilege for a foreign head of state, to strengthen their cooperation in the field of defence and put in place a plan to counter the North Korean threat. In exchange, Japan is already announcing to the English this possible agreement which will become CEPA in October 2020. “This will give British companies a gateway to the whole of Asia-Pacific”, assured Liz Truss before discussing a possible accession of Great Britain to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) of which Japan is a member.