Japan and Brexit negotiations of the UK: Japanese business representative to meet PM May

Japan and Brexit negotiations of the UK: Japanese business representative to meet PM May

Chika Mori and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tense negotiations between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) over Brexit remain problematic for Japan. This is based on either a soft landing or a hard landing, in the realm of business. Therefore, leading business representatives of major Japanese companies will meet Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom.

A spokesperson for the government of the UK confirmed, “The meeting will be tomorrow afternoon and the attendees will cover the most significant investors in the UK in such areas as banking, life sciences, technology and the manufacturing sector.”

In the middle of 2017, Daiwa, Nomura, and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) decided the German city of Frankfurt, and not London, will become the European center for offering banking services in Europe. Of course, since then, other financial reverberations are continuing because of the long drawn out Brexit negotiations and the feeling that the UK will be left behind.

Japanese business representatives in the automotive, banking, life sciences, manufacturing, technology, and other sectors, will meet the prime minister of the UK. Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the UK, will be at the meeting along with the prime minister. Hence, both individuals will discuss Brexit and the future they envision outside of the EU with various Japanese representatives.

Nearly fifty percent of all cars built in the UK is based on the investments of three major Japanese carmakers. This applies to Honda, Nissan, and Toyota. Of this figure, the overwhelming majority are exported. Therefore, the customs union is very important for these three Japanese companies and the same applies to other powerful sectors that have witnessed important investments from Japan.

Reuters reports, “Japanese firms have spent billions of pounds in Britain over the past decades, encouraged to set up in the country by successive governments promising a business-friendly base from which to trade across the continent.”

Japanese companies are extremely worried about issues involving tariffs, customs delay, drug regulations, and other important areas. Hence, May and Hammond will be keen to offer some type of guarantees and incentives for Japanese companies to still view the UK in such a positive light. However, even if May and Hammond can provide solace, it is clear that doubts will remain because the larger market of the EU is more important collectively to Japan.



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