Bilateral Trade Relations: Japan

International Trade – in the House of Commons on 5th March 2020.

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Photo of Tom Randall Tom Randall Conservative, Gedling

What recent steps she has taken to help improve bilateral trade relations with Japan.

Photo of Richard Holden Richard Holden Conservative, North West Durham

What recent steps she has taken to help improve bilateral trade relations with Japan.

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

Japan is the third largest economy in the world and a key partner of the UK. I visited Japan in September to promote UK trade and we are shortly likely to commence our free trade negotiations with it.

Photo of Tom Randall Tom Randall Conservative, Gedling

London 2012 offered an opportunity not only for Britain to showcase itself to the world, but for the competing nations to showcase themselves to the host nation. May I ask what steps the Department is taking to promote Great Britain at the forthcoming Olympic and Paralympic games in Tokyo?

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

I understand that Japan will be using a lot of British-made products in the Olympics, for example, the white water obstacles made by UK company RapidBlocs. During Tokyo 2020, we will be hosting a series of promotional events, and I look forward to Team GB celebrating its success with Scotch whisky and English sparkling wine.

Photo of Richard Holden Richard Holden Conservative, North West Durham

Nissan is very important to the north-east and employs hundreds directly in my constituency and hundreds more via the supply chain. What further benefits will a new free trade agreement with Japan, which is currently being pursued by the Government, bring to manufacturers and suppliers in my constituency?

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Nissan’s Sunderland plant is the most productive in Europe, and I can see every reason why the Japanese are likely to put even more investment there and make more cars there. There are opportunities through the Japan FTA and the US FTA where Nissan already exports from its UK factory.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

Should not the Secretary of State be looking at the way in which we source things in this country—whether from Japan or China. We know that many of the drugs that we need to fight this virus are actually made in India, and it is not allowing us to have a full complement of imports. We also know that firms all over our country are closing down because China is the workshop of the world and it is exporting nothing. What is she going to do in the future to secure those supply chains?

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

First, we are participating in the efforts to tackle coronavirus through the cross-Government working group. The Prime Minister chaired a Cobra meeting on Monday to make sure that we are dealing with those supply chain issues. Furthermore, I expect the Trade Remedies Authority to play a strong role in making sure that we do not see the dumping of products on the UK market.