UK government may have left it too late for businesses to prepare properly for the end of free movement of goods to and from the European Union, an influential group of lawmakers told media.

The British parliament’s Treasury Committee has written to finance Minister Rishi Sunak about their concerns over delays setting up computer systems that allow businesses to handle new customs requirements that come into force on 1st Jan 2021

“The Committee came away from its evidence session with serious concerns about the UK’s customs preparedness for the end of the Brexit transition period,” committee chair Mel Stride said.

“I’ve asked the Chancellor to respond to our concerns as a matter of urgency,” he added.

Furthermore reported that Britain and Japan formally signed a trade agreement on Friday, marking Britain’s first big post-Brexit deal on trade, as it continues to struggle to agree on a deal with its closest trading partners in the European Union.

Britain formally left the EU in January and it has focused on negotiating new trade pacts with countries around the world as its status-quo transition period ends on 31st Dec

“How fitting it is to be in the land of the rising sun to welcome in the dawn of a new era of free trade,” British Trade Secretary Liz Truss told reporters after the signing ceremony in Tokyo.

“This is the first new free trade deal to be agreed since the UK once again became an independent trading nation.”

The signing comes after Truss and Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi reached a broad agreement in September.

Motegi pointed out that the signing came about in just four and a half months since the start of negotiations.

“This is a manifestation of the determination of Japan and the United Kingdom to carry on vigorously promoting free trade,” the minister said.

Britain has said the deal meant 99% of its exports to Japan would be tariff-free, and that it could increase trade by 15.2 billion pounds in the long run, compared with 2018.

The deal removes Britain’s tariffs on Japanese cars in stages to zero in 2026, which is the same as in the Japan-EU trade agreement.

Japan is already a member of the CPTPP, which also links Canada, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

In a meeting with Japanese Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura later in the day, Truss said there would be a bigger opportunity with Britain’s presidency of the G7 and Japan’s chairmanship of the TPP-11 next year to challenge rising protectionism and make the case for free trade.

Sources from Sky News, BBC News and Reuters