‘Japan is Safe and Open for Business', Cable tells British Business
Business Secretary Vince Cable completed his tour of Japan Friday with a speech to two hundred influential business leaders, in which he re-affirmed the importance of the UK's relationship with Japan, and the British Government's support in the aftermath of the recent earthquake.
Expressing solidarity following the disaster in March, the Business Secretary encouraged Japanese leaders to embrace trade and openness whilst urging UK businesses to seize the opportunities for growth in the country.
Vince Cable said:
“Everyone in the UK has been deeply moved by the disaster that took place in March this year. But we have been equally impressed by the speed of your recovery, and want to show our solidarity with you.
“Getting businesses back on track will necessarily be of the highest priority in reinvigorating Japanese industry. The UK stands ready and willing to help in any way it can.
“I want UK firms to see that Japan is safe and open for business. Yesterday I launched a campaign to encourage renewed trade and investment between our countries, and I hope to see many more partnerships opening up in the years to come as Japan recovers and looks to the future.”
Dr Cable also highlighted the opportunities for mutually beneficial trade opportunities particularly in low carbon.
"I have met dozens of companies this week and emphasised our desire to work in partnership to create the low carbon infrastructure the UK needs. The Green Deal announced last month represents part of the strategy to meet this imperative; together with the launching of the Green Investment Bank and a Technology Innovation Centre for renewables."
Dr Cable also reiterated the UK's support for Japan’s aspirations for a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, following the decision in Brussels last weekend to launch a scoping exercise ahead of possible future negotiations:
"The British Government, led by the Prime Minister, intervened with EU counterparts to achieve progress. Action is now in Japan's hands. Relaxation of import regulations for relief goods, difficulties presented by Japan's unique standards demonstrate the benefits of coming closer in line with global standards... The conclusion of an EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement could generate over 50 billion euros in additional exports from Japan to the EU - and more than 40 billion euros of additional exports from the EU to Japan."
Ambassador to Japan David Warren said:
“Dr Cable’s visit is an important opportunity to reaffirm to Japanese companies British commitment to the UK/Japan trade and investment partnership.
“Japan has been through a very difficult two months, but it is important for British firms to know not only that it is safe to travel to Japan, but that this remains a major market for the UK; and for Japanese firms to know that we are as keen as ever to develop the already close links between our two countries. And the visit could not be better timed, in the light of the agreement over the weekend to start work on a possible EU/Japan Economic Partnership Agreement.”
Before Dr Cable concludes his visit to Japan he is also due to meet with leading British companies such as Virgin Atlantic, Aston Martin and medical suppliers Smith & Nephew Management, who have made an important contribution to the economic and humanitarian recovery in Japan.
Historically the UK has enjoyed a strong relationship with Japan. In 2009, UK- Japan bilateral trade was worth nearly £18 billion.
UK exports to Japan in 2009 were worth more than £8 billion (£3.56 billion in goods and £4.53 billion in services).
Japanese imports to the UK in 2009 were worth £9.9 billion (£6.66 billion in goods and £3.24billion in services).
Business services (legal, accounting, advertising, R&D) are the UK’s largest single services export to Japan valued at £2.06 billion in 2009.
Other significant sectors are sea transport, insurance, travel and financial services.
There are about 450 British companies operating in Japan and over 17,000 British citizens residing there.