Review of 2023: Secretary of State for Business & Trade visits Japan 

This installment takes a brief look back at the visit of Secretary of State for Business and Trade, Kemi Badenoch, who attended the trade minister’s G7 meeting in Osaka.  

The Secretary of State kicked off her visit in Tokyo, heading up the first Secretary of State-led trade mission since 2017, seeking to boost UK luxury goods exports to Japan. She hosted a special buyers’ event and dinner at the British Embassy Tokyo before travelling to Osaka to the G7 Trade Ministerial Meeting, where she discussed the challenges in strengthening our supply chains, engaging with G7 counterparts including Japan’s Yasutoshi Nishimura, Katherine Tai of the US and EU Commissioner Valdis Dombrovkis. 

An important moment was the signing of a critical minerals Memorandum of Cooperation between the UK and Japan. The memorandum firmly demonstrates the commitment to improve the resilience, transparency and sustainability of critical mineral supply chains, with a view to developing future industries and creating jobs. 
The minister also had the opportunity to meet Foreign Minister Yōko Kamikawa to discuss deepening the UK-Japan trade relationship. In the two years since the UK-Japan FTA (CEPA) was signed, we have seen reported exports of over £14 billion in the four quarters to the end of Q2 2023, an increase of 7% on the previous year.  
The visit follows the accession of UK to the regional CPTPP agreement, the Secretary of State attending the signing ceremony in New Zealand earlier in the year. With Japan being a crucial ally to accession, the opportunity was taken to thank in person those officials involved in helping UK join this important trade bloc.