Soy sauce brag backfires on Britain's trade ministry

Cornelia Mascio
Novembre 25, 2020

Liz Truss' department used a Japanese-themed episode of the Great British Bake Off to claim that the price of soy sauce in the United Kingdom after Brexit will drop.

But it was pointed out that the tariff on soy sauce from Japan is already 0% thanks to a free trade agreement between Tokyo and the EU.

Seasoned trade experts were quick to highlight that under the terms of Britain's exit deal from the EU, an EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement remains in force and no tariffs are now applicable on soy sauce imports from Japan into Britain. Japanese imports of soy sauce account for 14.6 percent of United Kingdom imports of the product. This is because the European Union has a free trade deal with Japan, which applies to the United Kingdom until the end of the year.

Getty Images Kikkoman soy sauce is made in the Netherlands and imported free of any duty.

David Henig, the United Kingdom director of policy think tank the European Centre for International Political Economy, tweeted: "Current tariff on soy sauce entering the United Kingdom from Japan - 0%".

The department for worldwide trade double-down, responding: "Under World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms, the tariff on soya sauce is 6 per cent".

"Not a good look when you can't trust a government social media account to tell the truth". "Under our deal, they will be 0%".

In response to the criticism, the department tweeted today: "To clarify: thanks to the UK-Japan trade deal, soya sauce will be cheaper than it otherwise would be under WTO (World Trade Organisation) terms, on which we would be trading with Japan from 1 Jan if we had not secured the UK-Japan trade deal". "Blended in the UK" Is that going to be cheaper after a UK-Japan deal?"

One user, by the name Steve Analyst, wrote: "Are we really going to be selling trade deals by saying: 'Good job that trade deal removed the tariffs which we had complete control of in the first place'".

James O'Brien added: "The disingenuousness here is nauseating, of course, & the blatant politicking deeply concerning". However, most of its sauces found in the United Kingdom are made in the Netherlands and only some is imported from Japan.

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