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InternationalDecade of exports sees North West firms secure £5.5bn from Japan

Decade of exports sees North West firms secure £5.5bn from Japan

North West firms have demonstrated significant appetite to expand into the Japanese market in recent years, with more than £5.5bn of goods exported into the region in the last decade, according to analysis by Deloitte.

Research from the business advisory firm, in partnership with MIDAS and GMCA, reveals that between 2010 and 2019, North West firms exported an average of £550m per year to Japan as the region aimed to strengthen trading relationships. In total, four years saw figures in excess of £650m, with 2012 exports the highest during the decade at £795m.

As part of this trading relationships have been strengthened across a wide range of sectors. Chemical products accounted for the highest, with the £3.4bn worth of exports during the decade representing 62 per cent of total trade. Behind this, machinery and transport (£1.3bn) and manufacturing (£765m) also saw significant interest.

Interest in manufacturing products especially has continued to grow year on year, with 2019’s figures the highest since 2014, which saw £780m of goods exported.

The UK has also demonstrated its commitment to building on this valuable trading relationship in recent months, agreeing the UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement in September 2020. Across the country, the deal could increase trade by £15.2bn, giving a £1.5bn boost to the economy and increasing workers’ wages by £800m.

Japan has been a key area of focus for Deloitte in the North West for a number of years. In 2018, Global Employer Services Partner Jo Ahmed was appointed as the Honorary Consul of Japan in Manchester, while the firm has hosted annual Japanese Business Dinners celebrating the links between the two areas since 2011.

Jo Ahmed said: “Japan represents an enormous growth opportunity for many businesses in the North West, both in terms of direct exports and ongoing collaboration and joint ventures. As we have seen, there has been a huge amount of appetite and investment from Japanese businesses in North West products, which has brought with it significant economic benefits for the local area.

“With Japan’s wealth of experience in the low carbon sector, the country represents a hugely valuable partner when it comes to meeting Greater Manchester’s ambitious carbon neutral targets by 2038. We have already seen inward investment focused on Clean Growth, with a consortium including Kansai Electric Power taking a 50 per cent stake in Electricity North West in July last year.

“This, coupled with the UK-wide free trade agreement, highlights the opportunities that Japan presents to the region’s businesses, and we expect to see both export and import figures grow as this relationship develops in the coming years.”

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