HC Deb 27 November 1996 vol 286 c334
22. Mr. Viggers

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has received from bodies committed to the promotion of United Kingdom-Japanese relations. [4608]

Mr. Hanley

I follow closely the excellent work done by a number of groups and organisations for the promotion of United Kingdom-Japanese relations, including the Anglo-Japanese Parliamentary Group, the UK-Japan 2000 Group and the Japan Society.

Mr. Viggers

Does my right hon. Friend agree that relations with Japan are excellent, embrace a wide range of educational and cultural links, and that trade has been improved recently by the Action Japan campaign, following other campaigns? In his discussions with his Japanese counterparts, will he nevertheless continue to bring pressure to bear on them to ensure that there is continued liberalisation of financial services, a sector in which the United Kingdom can make a major contribution to the Japanese economy, thus helping them and us?

Mr. Hanley

I thoroughly agree with my hon. Friend. The Action Japan campaign was launched in 1994 to promote British exports to Japan and give practical help to British firms. By the end of 1995, our exports had increased by 26 per cent.—to a new record level of more than £3.7 billion. In the first nine months of this year, there has been a further increase of nearly 15 per cent.

I believe that the relationships that we have with Japan are excellent. Japan is now Britain's largest export market outside Europe and the United States. About two thirds of British exports to Japan are capital goods and industrial components, but the market that my hon. Friend mentions is important and we must encourage further liberalisation in that regard.

Mr. Faulds

May I pay respects to the excellent work that the hon. Member for Gosport (Mr. Viggers) has done in terms of British-Japanese relations, but may I urge the Minister—and the hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey)—that it is quite inappropriate to refer to any relations as Anglo anything? It is British relations with whatever the organisation or the country is.

Mr. Hanley

I join the hon. Gentleman in paying tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Gosport (Mr. Viggers). I take the hon. Gentleman's strictures on the latter matter, and I shall try not to err so often.

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