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Lough Neagh eels could be recognised in Japan for first time

It is the UK’s first major trade deal outside the EU.

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Armagh Bramley apples and Lough Neagh eels could be officially recognised in Japan for the first time following a UK trade agreement (Downing Street/PA)

Armagh Bramley apples and Lough Neagh eels could be officially recognised in Japan for the first time following a UK trade agreement (Downing Street/PA)

Armagh Bramley apples and Lough Neagh eels could be officially recognised in Japan for the first time following a UK trade agreement (Downing Street/PA)

Armagh Bramley apples and Lough Neagh eels could be officially recognised in Japan for the first time following a UK trade agreement.

It is the UK’s first major trade deal outside the EU.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “This is a historic moment for the UK and Japan.

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International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said the deal will create new opportunities for people throughout Northern Ireland (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said the deal will create new opportunities for people throughout Northern Ireland (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

PA

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said the deal will create new opportunities for people throughout Northern Ireland (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“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, including in our great manufacturing, food and drink, and tech industries.

“From our Armagh Bramley apples and Irish poteen to our specialist tea-makers, this deal will create new opportunities for people throughout Northern Ireland and help level up the whole of the UK.”

A spokesman for the Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Cooperative said uncertainty over Northern Ireland’s trading relationship with the EU after Brexit and aspects of European law which do not allow export beyond the bloc remained.

He added: “In theory it broadens your marketing opportunities but in our case we would have to say that it remains to be seen.”

A total of 120 Northern Ireland businesses already trade with Japan.

Belfast-based Suki Tea sent its first shipment to Japan in 2009, the company’s first ever export.

The query had come through a Facebook message from a Japanese distributor with whom Suki Tea still works today.

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Belfast-based Suki Tea’s first shipment to Japan happened in 2009, marking the company’s first ever export (Suki Tea/PA).

Belfast-based Suki Tea’s first shipment to Japan happened in 2009, marking the company’s first ever export (Suki Tea/PA).

Belfast-based Suki Tea’s first shipment to Japan happened in 2009, marking the company’s first ever export (Suki Tea/PA).

Co-founder Oscar Woolley said: “It’s amazing to see Japanese people drinking tea from Northern Ireland, and it’s because of the high value and quality associated with products made in the UK.

“We make certain tea blends that aren’t easily accessible in Japan; for example, our fruit and herbal blends like Apple Loves Mint, and of course Belfast Brew, are very popular in Japan.

“I think these particular products do well because we’re offering something more than green tea which Japanese tea-lovers are used to.”

The removal of several trade barriers offers tariff-free trade on 99% of UK exports to Japan.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said: “This major trade deal is fantastic news for Northern Ireland. One hundred and twenty NI businesses already trade with Japan, and this deal will see that increase, boosting jobs and opportunities in some of the most important sectors to the local economy.”

The UK has negotiated a deal which will see tariffs fall on pork, beef, salmon and a range of other agricultural exports.

Exports by Northern Ireland meat producers last year accounted for 41% of the UK’s total exports of meat and meat preparations to Japan.

PA