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Volume 229: debated on Tuesday 27 July 1993

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To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the achievements and objectives of Her Majesty's Government's policy on trade with Japan.

Since the late 1980s, the Government have established a close, plain-speaking and positive relationship with Japan. In addition to the United Kingdom's welcome for overseas investment and the other advantages it offers, this has contributed to the United Kingdom being Japan's preferred investment partner in Europe. This investment represents over 40 per cent. of Japanese investment in the EC and has created more than 50,000 manufacturing jobs. Our export promotion campaigns, "Opportunity Japan" and "Priority Japan" have successfully encouraged United Kingdom firms to make inroads into the Japanese market. United Kingdom exports rose 75 per cent. to £2·63 billion in the period 1988–90 and have held up well—standing at £2·24 billion—compared with our major trading partners in the past two years, despite difficult economic conditions in Japan. The Japanese Government also assist United Kingdom companies who export to and invest in Japan.Working with our European Community partners, we seek from the Japanese Government further measures to stimulate domestic demand in Japan and to increase her propensity to import. We also seek further practical assistance to new investors in and exporters to Japan and the removal of the remaining barriers which affect British business. Such barriers are few but very important for the industries concerned. My Department remains committed to increasing awareness of the immense business opportunities in Japan and to strengthening our industrial base by learning from best Japanese practice. To that end, we are working with United Kingdom industry through our Priority Japan campaign, Engineers to Japan scheme and other activities.