Business

Japan and Britain consider bilateral trade rule to protect famous products

Jiji

The Japanese and British governments are expected to introduce a rule under their forthcoming trade deal to protect famous products they make, informed sources said.

Subject to the rule are mainstay agricultural and alcohol products, such as Scotch and Kobe beef, the sources said Saturday.

The two nations are in the final stages of talks to make the protections as strong as those laid out in Japan’s economic partnership agreement with the European Union.

To be introduced as part of the Japan-Britain deal is a geographical indication rule designed to protect products that originate from specific places and prevent cheaper products with the same or similar names from being widely sold.

Under the Japan-EU EPA, Satsuma shochu (distilled spirits) and Yubari melons are protected, as are Scotch and Kobe beef.

Japan and Britain aim to reach a broad agreement on the trade deal this summer and put it into effect in early 2021, given that Britain’s exit from the EU, or Brexit, will invalidate the EPA’s preferential trade treatment between Japan and Britain at the end of the year.

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi will visit Britain this month for negotiations with British International Trade Secretary Elizabeth Truss so they will be able to announce any progress on the deal.

The two countries are also discussing a protection rule for intellectual property rights that would be on a par with the rule in the Japan-EU EPA to cover cutting-edge technologies, trademarks and new plant varieties.

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