Liam Fox outlines UK–Japan trade potential

Sept. 5, 2018


The UK and Japan are “charting out” a strong, bilateral post-Brexit relationship, Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox told BCCJ members in August.

At the members-only event hosted by BCCJ Platinum member Barclays, Fox began his address by welcoming the continued efforts by BCCJ member firms to help British businesses succeed in Japan and by allaying fears that the British economy would falter due to Brexit. 

Since the historic vote to leave the European Union (EU) in June 2016, more than 600,000 jobs have been created in the UK, creating the highest level of employment in the country’s history, he said. Furthermore, in 2017, the UK gained more foreign direct investment projects than in any year to date, exports rose by 10.5% year-on-year and manufacturing orders were at their highest since 1988. “It’s hardly an economy on its knees,” he noted.


UK–Japan relations

Following Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to Japan in 2017, when she and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed a JapanUK Joint Declaration on Prosperity Cooperation, both governments have sustained mutual high-level engagement, Fox said. May hosted a roundtable in Downing Street to receive the views of key Japanese investors to the UK and a trade and investment working group to deliver a future economic partnership was launched. It will meet for the third time within 2018.

“As a sign of confidence in the UK economy, strong inward investment from Japan has continued,” he added, pointing out that Toyota, Nissan and Softbank have recently invested in the UK. “In [2017], when global foreign direct investment fell overall by about 16%, foreign direct investment into the UK continued to rise, cementing our place as the third top destination globally for inward investment and, by a long way, top inward investment destination in Europe.”

Following Brexit, Japan will remain one of the UK’s most important economic partners, he added. This goal makes securing a bilateral free trade agreement critical. The Japanese and UK governments are discussing how that agreement is taken forward, using the EU–Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) as a foundation. And, according to Fox, a UK–Japan EPA can be “more ambitious” than the EU–Japan EPA.

 


Global leaders

After leaving the EU, Fox said the UK would continue to influence global trading policy and become “a major defender of the global rules-based system and of the concept of free trade itself,” a concept that he said is more under threat today than at any time he could remember.

He welcomed the support for free, rules-based trade shown by the 11 members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), including Japan.

According to Fox, the UK is interested in accession to the CPTPP. If this happens, the combined GDP of the 12 members would almost equal that of the EU after the UK’s departure.

Speaking of a 12-member CPTPP, he said “it would be not only a chance to re-balance trade but also to create a much better way of trying to induce the sort of behavioural changes we want in China than the unilateral use of tariffs would produce.”

The priority for the UK is maintaining continuity in the UK–Japan bilateral trade and investment relationship, to avoid disruption for businesses and investors. But Fox also believes Japan and the UK can enjoy a strong, bilateral relationship while also “shaping the global trading environment in a positive, liberal way.”

As the world’s third and fifth largest economies, respectively, their mission should be to set ambitions “sufficiently high to reap benefits not only bilaterally but also for the region and the world beyond,” he said.

Liam Fox outlines UK–Japan trade potential

The UK and Japan are “charting out” a strong, bilateral post-Brexit relationship, Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox told BCCJ members in August.

At the members-only event hosted by BCCJ Platinum member Barclays, Fox began his address by welcoming the continued efforts by BCCJ member firms to help British businesses succeed in Japan and by allaying fears that the British economy would falter due to Brexit. 

Since the historic vote to leave the European Union (EU) in June 2016, more than 600,000 jobs have been created in the UK, creating the highest level of employment in the country’s history, he said. Furthermore, in 2017, the UK gained more foreign direct investment projects than in any year to date, exports rose by 10.5% year-on-year and manufacturing orders were at their highest since 1988. “It’s hardly an economy on its knees,” he noted.


UK–Japan relations

Following Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to Japan in 2017, when she and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed a JapanUK Joint Declaration on Prosperity Cooperation, both governments have sustained mutual high-level engagement, Fox said. May hosted a roundtable in Downing Street to receive the views of key Japanese investors to the UK and a trade and investment working group to deliver a future economic partnership was launched. It will meet for the third time within 2018.

“As a sign of confidence in the UK economy, strong inward investment from Japan has continued,” he added, pointing out that Toyota, Nissan and Softbank have recently invested in the UK. “In [2017], when global foreign direct investment fell overall by about 16%, foreign direct investment into the UK continued to rise, cementing our place as the third top destination globally for inward investment and, by a long way, top inward investment destination in Europe.”

Following Brexit, Japan will remain one of the UK’s most important economic partners, he added. This goal makes securing a bilateral free trade agreement critical. The Japanese and UK governments are discussing how that agreement is taken forward, using the EU–Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) as a foundation. And, according to Fox, a UK–Japan EPA can be “more ambitious” than the EU–Japan EPA.


Global leaders

After leaving the EU, Fox said the UK would continue to influence global trading policy and become “a major defender of the global rules-based system and of the concept of free trade itself,” a concept that he said is more under threat today than at any time he could remember.

He welcomed the support for free, rules-based trade shown by the 11 members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), including Japan.

According to Fox, the UK is interested in accession to the CPTPP. If this happens, the combined GDP of the 12 members would almost equal that of the EU after the UK’s departure.

Speaking of a 12-member CPTPP, he said “it would be not only a chance to re-balance trade but also to create a much better way of trying to induce the sort of behavioural changes we want in China than the unilateral use of tariffs would produce.”

The priority for the UK is maintaining continuity in the UK–Japan bilateral trade and investment relationship, to avoid disruption for businesses and investors. But Fox also believes Japan and the UK can enjoy a strong, bilateral relationship while also “shaping the global trading environment in a positive, liberal way.”

As the world’s third and fifth largest economies, respectively, their mission should be to set ambitions “sufficiently high to reap benefits not only bilaterally but also for the region and the world beyond,” he said.

 

Produced by Sterling Content for the BCCJ

英国国際貿易長官のリアムフォックス氏が来日し、BCCJのPlatinumメンバーであるBarclaysが主催する会員専用イベントで、BCCJ加盟企業による日本企業の成功を支援するための継続的な努力を称賛し、英国が欧州連合(EU)を脱退することによって英国経済が揺れるであろうという懸念を和らげた。