HC Deb 09 March 1990 vol 168 cc880-1W
Mr. Soames

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the achievements and objectives of Her Majesty's Government's policy on trade with Japan.

Mr. Redwood

[holding answer 7 March 1990]: The Government have three main trade policy objectives with Japan.

The first is to persuade the Japanese authorities to implement structural reforms to sustain the shift in the balance of their economy from export-led growth to domestic demand-led growth. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, during her visit to Japan last year, emphasised the need for action in this area.

The second is to secure the removal of the remaining barriers to market access. Few such barriers remain. Where they do, the Government campaign vigorously for their removal through the appropriate channels: bilaterally, through the European Community and through the GATT.

The Government's approach has achieved significant results. For example, last April the Japanese Government removed discriminatory taxation on imported whisky, with the result that the value of exports of Scotch whisky to Japan (which is the industry's third largest market) has risen by almost 90 per cent. since liberalisation. Also, EC-Japan discussions have led to the removal of barriers to exports of EC motor vehicles to Japan; last year, unit sales of United Kingdom car exports to Japan grew by 48 per cent.

The Government's third objective is to ensure that the British business community is fully aware of the greatly increased opportunities in Japan, and of the strategic importance of the Japanese market. My Department's Opportunity Japan campaign was launched in 1988 to address this need. A target was set of doubling British exports to Japan in three years. The determined efforts of British exporters mean that we are well on the way to doing so: last year United Kingdom exports of goods to Japan increased by £525 million to £2.3 billion, an increase of 30.1 per cent. over 1988.