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UK-Japan trade talks: Lords to question investment and automotive experts

Friday 11 September 2020

On Monday, the House of Lords International Agreements Sub-Committee will continue its inquiry into UK-Japan trade negotiations, as it questions experts in automotive trade and regional investment.

The evidence session will be conducted on zoom and can be followed at from 3pm on Monday 14 September.

Giving evidence will be:

  • Mike Hawes, CEO, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
  • James Ramsbotham, CEO, North East England Chamber of Commerce
  • Anna Jerzewska, International Trade Policy Consultant

Questions will include:

  • Can you give a brief overview of UK-Japan trade in your sector or area? How do you evaluate the way in which the agreement with Japan was originally presented by the Government prior to negotiations and where we seem to have gotten to?
  • How have businesses been impacted by COVID-19, and within this context, how have businesses dealt with the UK pursuing negotiations with Japan, the US, and other potential FTA partners in parallel?
  • How important is the outcome of a UK-EU deal to UK-Japan trade and the businesses and organisations that are involved?
  • We understand that it is crucial for the UK automotive sector to maintain business continuity in trade between the UK and Japan and the EU. In particular, rules of origin for automotive parts and cumulation have been discussed as key issues. Could you talk in more detail about this and what is necessary in both agreements– between the UK and Japan and the UK and the EU?
  • The SMMT has stated that the UK should prioritise maintaining key elements of the existing automotive annex in the EU-Japan EPA and possibly upgrading it. Could you briefly describe the key things that we need to take into consideration?
  • It has been reported in the media that Japan was unable to get an early elimination of UK automotive tariffs, faster than what was agreed in the EU-Japan EPA. How do you evaluate this achievement by the UK Government and what were the risks or the implications for the UK automotive industry had this been agreed?
  • Many businesses based in the North East of England have received significant Japanese investment. What would they most like to see in a UK-Japan FTA?
  • How do you think trade policy generally could help regions? What would help to ensure that regions maintain the investments and businesses that are currently there? What are the risks that business and investment might reallocate?
  • What specific provisions in a UK-Japan FTA could increase or at least maintain the current level of Japanese investment in the UK?
    What should we look out for when the agreement is published? Where in the details are the potential pitfalls? What changes to legislation may need to take place in the UK?

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