Japan-U.K. Trade Features Electric Cars, Eclectic Fashions; Badenoch Visits to Promote Closer, More Open Economic Ties

Courtesy of U.K. government
U.K. Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch

The United Kingdom has accelerated its cooperation with Japan on the trade front following its exit from the European Union in January 2020. London signed a free trade accord with Tokyo later that year and in July this year signed an agreement for its accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) — a multilateral free trade agreement that spans the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan. U.K. Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch, who is visiting Tokyo and Osaka from Thursday through Monday to further strengthen the relationship of the two G7 advanced economies, contributed the following piece to The Japan News ahead of her visit.


There could not be a more perfect country to which I could lead the first post-COVID U.K. business delegation.

At the forefront of modern fashion and cutting-edge technology, Japan is an untapped market for many British brands wanting to export their goods and services.

That’s why I’m here this week, connecting British luxury fashion businesses — some centuries old — with retailers and online buyers so that Japanese customers will have access to a greater range of iconic British brands and cutting-edge fashion.

This trade mission includes heritage brands such as Christy & Co., who have crafted fine hats using traditional methods since 1773, as well exciting innovators such as Anabela Chan, one of the pioneers of merging science and art to create sustainable high-fashion jewelry. We want to bring these iconic British fashion labels right to your doors in Japan.

All of this is possible thanks to the U.K.’s landmark free trade deal with Japan, one of the first post-Brexit deals we secured. Since signing this agreement, the total value of trade between our two countries has risen to over £28 billion. The U.K.’s accession to the CPTPP, for which we remain immensely grateful for the support from Japan, will enhance this relationship to another level.

But I’m not here just to strengthen U.K. exports to Japan, I’m also in your beautiful country to increase Japanese investment into the U.K. The quality of Japanese goods and services has long been highly valued in Britain. You’ll find cars made by Toyota and Honda driving down every British motorway and appliances by Sony and Panasonic in many of our homes.

I’m working hard to knock down barriers preventing Japanese companies from breaking into the U.K. market. That’s why the U.K. government recently supported a £1 billion electric vehicle hub in the North of England in partnership with Nissan and battery maker AESC, boosting Japanese business and British jobs.

After the trade mission I’m pleased to be traveling to Osaka for the Group of Seven Trade Ministers’ Meeting, where my fellow trade ministers and I will be looking to solve some of the big issues that the world is facing when it comes to global commerce.

Establishing resilient supply chains is key to economic security and vital to our efforts to tackle economic coercion and securing the jobs and industries of the future. I welcome Japan’s focus on economic security during its presidency of the G7; the launch of the Coordination Platform on Economic Coercion in Hiroshima is a breakthrough in our collective mission, and we must now work together to make sure that this vital work continues whilst considering how we engage countries beyond the G7.

This builds on the leadership that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has demonstrated by meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in May to sign the Hiroshima Accord. This agreement between our two countries signals to the world that by working together we will tackle our shared challenges, which will create a better future for our people and our businesses.

My priority is to harness free trade and competition to advance our shared goals, and not revert to protectionist and distortive measures. Working with valued partners like Japan, I will continue to strive for truly free trade, uninhibited by barriers or red tape.

Supporting U.K. exports to Japan, breaking down barriers to investment, and representing the U.K. at the G7: These may seem distinct, but they all form part of one of my central priorities to champion free and fair trade, creating the right conditions for businesses to grow. The success of business is key to a prosperous future — more jobs, higher pay and better lives — and I know Japan shares that ambition.