British Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will lead a trade delegation to Japan on August 30, looking to discuss bilateral trade and security issues with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. The visit, Ms May said in a statement, will “showcase the strength of British business, the shared confidence in the UK-Japan economic relationship as we leave the EU, and the potential for future growth”. The British delegation will also include a number of business leaders from Britain.
The move comes shortly after the EU and Japan reached an agreement for a trade deal last July, a deal which has been hailed the biggest trade agreement ever concluded. In the wake of this, Prime Minister May has sought to assure British businesses that the UK can successfully negotiate trade deals with countries outside Europe, even if Brexit occurs without an EU-UK deal.
As Japan and the UK are the third and fifth largest economies in the world by GDP, respectively, any potential deal could have large economic ramifications. In light of discussions over the long-term staying power of Theresa May, who has been damaged by a poor result in the recent election, failure in the talks with Japan could seal May’s fate as another candidate from her Conservative Party replaces her as Prime Minister.