Building Trade Links with Japan

External Affairs Secretary sets out priorities for exports growth

Scotland’s priorities for strengthening business and trade links with Japan were set out in Tokyo this morning by the Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop.

Life sciences, food and drink and the renewable energy sectors will be the Scottish Government’s priority areas for growing the value of Scotland’s direct exports to Japan – currently worth £295 million.

With a combined turnover of £1.4 billion, the latest figures show 80 Japanese businesses are investing in Scotland employing 5430 people. Between 2012 and 2014, Scottish businesses secured six new projects with Japan creating 153 new jobs and safeguarding 227 more.

Ms Hyslop was speaking at the British Chamber of Commerce in Tokyo to representatives of Japanese and international businesses.

Ms Hyslop said:

“Japan is a very important international partner for Scotland. The country is our 18th largest export market and was the fourth biggest source of foreign direct investment into Scotland in 2014. Japan has accounted for almost six per cent of all inward investment into Scotland over the past decade.

“There are opportunities for Scottish businesses to expand their links with Japan particularly in the areas of food and drink but also in life sciences and renewable energy. We have many existing relationships and cultural links with Japan but we know these three sectors present key opportunities to further strengthen our connections and we are committed to doing all we can to encourage that.

“In the latest annual attractiveness survey from Ernst and Young, for the third year in a row Scotland was the UK’s leading location for inward investment outside of London. The authors referred to a “halo effect” resulting from the Ryder Cup, the Commonwealth Games and also the independence referendum. This has resonated across the world, including in Japan and is an important factor to help us secure inward investment.”

While speaking in Tokyo, Ms Hyslop set out the positive case for Europe and how international businesses benefit from having a base in Scotland. She said:

“The EU is a vital export market for Scottish firms accounting for £12.9 billion in international exports in 2013. Investors from around the world, including Japan, recognise the importance of the world’s biggest single market. Having a base in a country with EU membership is important to them and to us as well.”

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