Season 1, Episode 55

Host: Deepesh Patel, Editor, Trade Finance Global

Featuring: Sir David Wright GCMG LVO, Chair, TheCityUK Japan Market Advisory Group; Global Advisor, SMFJ and Former UK Ambassador to Japan

Japan is the third-largest economy in the world, and one of the most open economies with 4% of global GDP. Once perceived a difficult market to enter, it has, over the past 30 years, grown to be a global powerhouse, from automotives and agriculture, to digital trade and innovation.

Today’s podcast focuses on the Free Trade Agreement, FTA with Japan, more specifically referred to as the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, Or CEPA. The UK and Japan are major investors in each other’s economies, ranking fifth and sixth respectively for inward foreign direct investment. 

Deepesh Patel: I’m Deepesh Patel, Editor at Trade Finance Global.

The UK left the EU and concluded the transition period at the end of 2020. Signing new FTAs has been integral to the UK government. On 23 October 2020, the UK signed its first post-Brexit agreement with Japan. So what are the key changes versus the EU Japan CEPA, and what’s the extent of the trade liberalisation in this new deal?

With that in mind, and in preparation for City & Financial Global’s conference: the UK Japan Free Trade Summit on the 20th January, I’m delighted to be joined by Sir David Wright, Chair of TheCityUK’s Japan Market Advisory Group, former senior adviser at Barclays, past UK ambassador to Japan, and the first Chief Executive of DIT, then known as UK Trade and Investment.

Here is what was covered on this podcast:

An Overview of Japan Trade – Exports and Imports

  • Can you give us an overview (from a Japanese perspective) of the trading landscape in Japan? What does the Japanese economy rely on when it comes to imports and exports?
  • Japan is the largest trading partner of the CPTPP, representing 28% of total trade. The CPTPP is one of the world’s largest free trade areas, representing 13% of global GDP. How does Japan benefit?

The UK and Japan – Trade Overview

  • Part of the UK’s future trade strategy now that we have left the EU lies around increasing long term trade and investment with the Asia Pacific region. Why is this relationship important?
  • Can you discuss the importance of digital trade in relation to this?
  • Can you give us an overview of Britain’s history and trading relationship with Japan? 
  • So looking at the bilateral relationship between the UK and Japan, what does the recently negotiated CEPA mean, and how does it compare with the current relationship?
  • What new benefits will the FTA bring to UK businesses (majors and SMEs), entrepreneurs and exporters? 

The UK’s trading relationship with Asia Pacific and ASEAN – should the UK join the CPTPP?

  • Part of the UK’s future trade strategy now that we have left the EU lies around increasing long term trade and investment with the Asia Pacific region. Why is this relationship important?
  • What’s the role of TheCityUK’s Japan Market Advisory Group (MAG)?
  • Why is the UK looking to join the CPTPP? Will this affect the current UK-Japan FTA?
  • How will the FTA impact the future of the UK financial services, professional and business services sectors?
  • Should the UK be using the UK-Japan FTA as a blueprint for future trade agreements?

We’ve partnered up with City & Financial at their flagship summit: UK-Japan Free Trade Summit. Join us next week to hear more on the UK-Japan CEPA.

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