Stilton drives wedge between UK-Japan Brexit deal

Stilton Image rights Getty Images

A post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and Japan could have encountered an unlikely obstacle – Stilton cheese.

On Friday, both sides said they had hoped to finalize the details of a post-Brexit trade deal by the end of the month.

However, progress has reportedly been off track after International Trade Secretary Liz Truss called for better terms on UK blue cheese.

The Ministry of International Trade declined to comment on the reports.

The Financial Times, who first reported that the conversations had hit a hookMs. Truss could be looking for a symbolic victory as blue cheese sales to Japan from the UK were only £ 102,000 last year.

A better deal on the products could mean that their department could get a slightly cheaper deal than the EU's last year with Japan, when both sides achieved a € 1 billion reduction in food tariffs.

Dairy products and other foods are among the EU's largest exports to Japan.

Ms. Truss has been a long time fan of British products. When she was Environment Minister in 2014, she said at the Conservative Party conference that it was a “shame” that “we import two-thirds of our apples, nine-tenths of our pears and two-thirds of our cheese”.

The Department of International Trade declined to comment on the reports, but cited Ms. Truss's comments on Friday when she said a consensus had been reached between the UK and Japan and that an agreement was expected by the end of the month will.

"The negotiations have been positive and productive and we have reached a consensus on the key elements of an agreement – including ambitious provisions in areas such as digital, data and financial services that go well beyond the EU-Japan agreement," she said in a statement at the time.

"Our common goal is to reach a formal agreement by the end of August."

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