Hitchin business among those set to see boost after ‘historic’ UK-Japan trade deal agreed

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss speaking to Japan's Minister for Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss speaking to Japan's Minister for Foreign Affairs Toshimitsu Motegi as the UK secures a free trade agreement with Japan. The UK has secured its first major post-Brexit trade deal after signing an agreement with Japan which will boost trade by an estimated £15 billion. Picture: Andrew Parsons/PA Wire - Credit: PA

One Hitchin–based business is set to benefit from the UK’s new provisional trade deal with Japan, after an economic partnership agreement was made by the two countries earlier today.

Businesses in the United Kingdom could benefit from tarriff-free trade on more than 90 per cent of export to Japan, should the trade deal be approved and ratified by the two countries’ parliaments.

The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was agreed in principle by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Japan Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi on a video call earlier today (Friday, September 11).

And one business in Wilbury Way is set to be directly impacted by the new agreement.

ProtecX Medical, a leading manufacturer and supplier of personal radiation protection products, has been experiencing success in the Japanese market since starting exporting its goods to the country in the early 2000s.

ProtecX Medical exports 30 per cent of its business, with Japan seeing consistent increases year on year, and representing its biggest trading destination in Asia–Pacific region.

Leanne Miller, managing director at ProtecX, said: “We have long been a preferred supplier to many NHS Trusts and private healthcare companies throughout the UK; exporting for us was a natural step to take.

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“Our international trade adviser at the DIT has assisted us in several ways over the years. They have supported us to attend medical trade fairs, understand each country’s requirements and find new distributors overseas, especially in Japan.

“We recommend other companies to get in touch with the DIT for advice and assistance, they know the market really well and have teams in other countries, which makes it instrumental to enter new markets.”

Liz Truss, Secretary of State for International Trade, added: “This is a historic moment for the UK and Japan. This is our first major post-Brexit trade deal and it goes far beyond the existing EU deal by securing new wins for British businesses.

“This deal will create new opportunities for people in the East of England and help level up the whole of the UK.

“Strategically, the deal is an important step towards joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership and placing Britain at the centre of a network of modern free trade agreements with like-minded friends and allies.”

Negotiations on the UK-Japan trade deal started earlier this summer, as the UK set its long term goal to become a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The government is estimating a £1.5bn boost to the UK economy, an increase in UK–Japan trade by £15.2bn and an increase in UK worker wages by £800m “in the long run”.

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