Currently the Department for International Trade is in a period of consultation with business on the rollover of terms of the EU-Japan trade deal for the UK – and the CBI has been encouraging businesses in all sectors to get involved.
Last week, we hosted the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, at a town hall meeting for CBI members to discuss how we can strengthen our partnership with Japan and what businesses want to see in a new UK-Japan Free Trade Agreement.
Core of any future UK-Japan deal will be the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) – so the UK needs to close any gaps with the EU, but it also has an opportunity to expand the relationship. That opportunity has been welcomed by members but to make the most of it, common concerns raised included data flows, protection of intellectual property and in-market support.
The CBI at the Japanese Embassy Parliamentary Reception
Further demonstrating how the CBI is supporting strong business relationships between the UK and Japan, CBI President John Allan was invited to speak at the Japanese Embassy Parliamentary Reception this week.
In his speech he recognised that Japanese supply chains were closely woven between the UK and Europe, highlighting the continued importance of clarity around Brexit – but he focused on the optimism of what could be achieved to enhance the UK-Japan relationship.
“Because the partnership between our countries has endured, and it must endure still. We’ve each benefited from the thousands of jobs British companies have created in Japan and the jobs Japanese companies have created here. We’ve each invested billions in innovation, training, and infrastructure.”
And championing just one area that could benefit Japanese firms in the UK he pointed to the government’s target to increase R&D spending – a policy backed by the CBI. He argued it was a great sign for companies like Toshiba, Sony and Panasonic.
“In fact, in the past year alone, the UK has created more $1bn tech companies than any country in Europe. So-called ‘tech unicorns’. We now have 72 of them – 13 new ones in as many months. Measured per capita – we’ve created more tech unicorns than any country in the world. So the point is clear. If Japanese firms want to be involved in science and technology in Europe, then you need to be in the UK.”
The CBI will continue to work alongside the Japanese Embassy and the Department of International Trade to ensure the UK and its world leading businesses are well positioned to make the most of the ongoing trade discussions.