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Brexit news: Japan trade deal will not be ready by March 29 deadline

The UK will not be able to roll over an EU trade deal with Japan in time for the scheduled date of Brexit on March 29, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has said.

Japan was the most significant on a list of 27 EU trade agreements released by Dr Fox's Department of International Trade on which discussions about possible roll-over are still ongoing just 36 days from the date of withdrawal.

The department also confirmed that the EU's customs union agreement with Turkey, which covers 1.39 per cent of UK trade, will not be transitioned on exit day.

Dr Fox predicted in 2017 that the UK would be able to replicate up to 40 EU free trade deals, accounting for around 11 per cent of the UK's trade, for "a second after midnight" on Brexit day.

But so far it has able to finalise "continuity agreements" with just seven of the 69 countries and regions with which the EU has trade deals, Switzerland, Chile, the Faroe Islands, Eastern and Southern Africa, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

'Broken promise'

"Many companies are unaware it is not just their relationships with EU customers at risk from a no-deal Brexit, but those across the globe," said CBI director of international trade Ben Digby.

"Individual businesses trading with markets outside the EU would face tariffs worth millions of pounds being slapped on them instantaneously.

"It is vital no-deal is taken off the table to unlock transition, allowing the UK to remain part of these deals and provide space to agree new arrangements."

People's Vote supporter and Labour MP Stephen Doughty said: "Brexiters promised that voting Leave would mean a bonanza of new international trade deals that would make up for lost trade with the EU.

"Instead, Brexit is costing us the global trade deals we already have as EU members.

"Liam Fox is now finally admitting that his promise to roll over all existing EU trade deals in time for Brexit is going to be broken."


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