Japan

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th June 1985.

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Photo of Mr Philip Oppenheim Mr Philip Oppenheim , Amber Valley 12:00 am, 5th June 1985

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many representations he has received from British exporters about non-tariff barriers in Japan.

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

My Department receives a number of representations from British exporters about non-tariff barriers in Japan.

Photo of Mr Philip Oppenheim Mr Philip Oppenheim , Amber Valley

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the failure to export to Japan is often attributable not to non-tariff barriers but to weaknesses in British companies? None the less, last year, the Japanese exported to us £40 million worth of telecommunications equipment, and in return we exported to them only 1 per cent, of that figure. Does he accept that that occurred because we have liberalised our telecommunications market and thrown it open to imports from abroad, while the Japanese have no such policy and close their doors to overseas telecommunications products?

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

My hon. Friend raises a fair point which, coupled with the points made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State in answer to the previous question, is an example of some of the practices of the Japanese Government that are getting the world trading system into a dangerous position. During his visit to Tokyo my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State raised my hon. Friend's specific point, and we shall continue to press the matter.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Central Fife

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what further progress has been made in talks with Japan on the liberalisation of trade.

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

On 9 April, Prime Minister Nakasone announced a market-opening package of measures designed to bring about an increase in Japan's imports of manufactured goods, further liberalisation of internal financial markets and the internationalisation of the yen. We and our Community partners will be looking closely for evidence of practical steps to implement those intentions.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Central Fife

Is the Minister aware that the country is becoming increasingly angry about the courteous claptrap that we have heard from the Japanese in such matters during the past 20 years, and about the fact that no progress has been made? Does he accept that the House will give unqualified support if the Government take retaliatory action against the Japanese?

Photo of Mr Paul Channon Mr Paul Channon , Southend West

The feelings of the House are abundantly clear. However, it would be much more satisfactory and in the interests of Japan and the United Kingdom if the measures which the Japanese Prime Minister promised in July prove, in effect, to open the Japanese market to our exports. That would be a happier solution than having to take retaliatory measures, which would help neither the United Kingdom nor Japan in the long run. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made clear, there is a grave risk of the world trading system falling into serious trouble and of retaliatory measures being taken.