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The European Union has trade deals of various sorts with seventy-five other — or so-called third countries — and five more under negotiation. It is astonishing that the U.K., physically the EU’s closest big neighbor and the second largest economy in the European geographical region, still cannot be one of them.

So what exactly is the hold-up? The uncertainty is excruciating and highly disconcerting for major industrial concerns that have invested in British manufacturing to have good access to the whole European market, of which Japanese corporations are prominent examples.

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