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TUC submission on UK-Japan trade to Department of International Trade

Report type
Consultation response
Issue date
Key findings

The TUC has responded to the Department of International Trade consultation on UK -Japan trade.

In our response we highlight:

  • The TUC believes the trade priority for the UK must be to ensure a good outcome from Brexit negotiations with the EU that ensures continued barrier and tariff free trade, upholds the Good Friday Agreements and ensures UK workers continue to be protected by the same level of rights as those legally guaranteed to workers in the EU.  To ensure this, the TUC believes it is essential for the UK to continue to be in the EU single market and a customs union with the EU.
  • The TUC does not believe that trade deals with non-EU countries can substitute for a barrier and tariff-free trading arrangement with the EU, either economically or in terms of the protection for workers’ rights and other standards. 
  • By its membership of the ETUC, the TUC is pushing for EU trade policy to better protect workers’ rights, standards and public services. The TUC, like unions across the EU, is concerned that the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) poses threats to workers’ rights, public services and jobs.  We would not want these threats replicated in any new trade deal involving the UK and Japan.
  • In 2018 the TUC signed a joint statement with our Japanese counterpart RENGO which stated:

‘To ensure Japanese companies continue to invest and support good jobs in the UK, it is crucial that any Brexit deal continues to allow companies to trade without barriers or tariffs.

Any deal must also ensure that the UK continues to uphold the same levels of employment rights as those found in the EU to prevent undercutting and exploitation.

…if there were to be a trade agreement involving the participation of the UK and Japan, any future trade deal involving the two countries must have the creation of good jobs, protection of workers’ rights and public services at its heart. And it must not include unfair Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms which would infringe the rights of governments and other public institutions of both the UK and Japan to legislate in relation to workers’ rights, public services, welfare and the environment.

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