HC Deb 17 February 1975 vol 886 cc896-8
11. Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many trade missions visited Japan in 1974; and how many are planned for 1975.

Mr. Deakins

Twenty-seven missions visited Japan in 1974. So far plans are firm for 22 missions in 1975.

Mr. Hooley

Is my hon. Friend aware that that information is very welcome? Will he urge upon British industry the importance of exploring the Japanese market, which is one of the largest industrial and consumer markets in the world? Has his attention been drawn to the recent ineptitude of British Leyland in its approach to that market?

Mr. Deakins

I am well aware, as are the Government and British exporters generally, of the importance of the Japanese market. I welcome any signs on the part of any major British company in particular which has so far neglected this market that it is seeking, through the British Overseas Trade Board and other bodies, to get into this fast-growing market.

Mr. Richard Wainwright

Will the Minister do his best to ensure that the message conveyed by these missions to the Japanese is that the Government intend to proceed not by restricting imports into this country from Japan but rather by encouraging an increase of existing exports to Japan, including fine worsted cloth?

Mr. Deakins

I am happy to give that assurance. That remains Government policy. We want to see a further increase in the volume and the value of British exports to Japan, which have increased greatly in the past two years, thanks largely to the British Overseas Trade Board and the many British exporters who have taken part.

Mr. Park

Will any of these missions concern itself with ensuring that our exporters in this country are given a fair crack of the whip in getting their goods into Japan? It seems that a huge tangle of red tape is erected by Japan to make it very difficult for our car exporters in particular to get into that country.

Mr. Deakins

There is a later Question on the Order Paper about car exports and imports which I do not want to anticipate. On the general point about red tape and restrictions in Japan, the position has eased a great deal in the past few years. I believe that British exporters who may well have been put off three or four years ago will find a different situation when they seek the advice of the British Overseas Trade Board and visit Japan themselves.

Mr. Rost

Will the Minister make a careful study of the correspondence he has received from Pressac Limited—a firm in my constituency which manufactures components for the television and motor industries—about the serious effect to employment that results from what it believes may be unfair importing practices?

Mr. Deakins

The Government are always willing to look closely at any sign of unfair trade practices such as dumping or subsidisation in any form. We always have to be approached in the first place by the industry concerned. We are happy to advise it upon the evidence that it requires and the submissions it should make. I believe that the Pressac matter is under consideration.