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Volume 115: debated on Wednesday 29 April 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress he has achieved in securing wider access for British exports to the Japanese market.

In the year ending February 1987, the United Kingdom visible trade deficit with Japan was £3.8 billion. Some progress has been made. I am glad to say that in 1986 United Kingdom visible exports to Japan increased by 18 per cent. to £1.2 billion.


asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the value, for the most recent 12 months, of motor car exports to Japan; and what is the comparable figure for imports from that country.

Motor car exports to Japan for the 12 months ending February this year amounted to £24 million; for the same period imports were £817 million.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if he will introduce forthwith an increase of 40 per cent. in the duty of Japanese leather imports to the United Kingdom;(2) what action he intends to take in relation to the situation regarding Japanese leather exports to the United Kingdom being subject to duties not exceeding 7 per cent. compared with a tariff of 60 per cent. placed on almost all leather exports to Japan.

Tariffs are a matter for the Community as a whole. The Government continue to seek better market access abroad for British exports rather than to reduce imports. With our Community partners we have made clear to the Japanese Government our concern about excessive protection by Japan of its leather industry. We look to Japan to make early and substantial improvements in existing arrangements, to the benefit of British and other Community exporters.