Japan not best pleased by Brexit


Vampire Ninja
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Theresa May is set for disappointment on her visit to Tokyo this week after Japanese officials signalled they would not rush into free trade talks with Britain.
The British prime minister, who is hungry for new trade agreements to show the benefits of Brexit, is expected to discuss a UK-Japan version of the deal Tokyo agreed in principle with the EU last month when she meets her Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. But Japanese officials say their priority is completing the deal with Brussels, while negotiations with Britain will be difficult until there is clarity about its future relationship with the EU. “I don’t think there will be substantial progress,” said one Japanese trade official. “We haven’t finished [free trade] negotiations with the EU, just agreed at the political level, and many issues still remain.” The official said the UK side was being “quite aggressive” in pushing for a commitment on a future trade deal with the world’s fourth-largest economy. Mrs May will argue that such an arrangement would be mutually beneficial. “We were big supporters of the EU/Japan trade deal and were engaged in negotiating it,” said one of Mrs May’s allies. “It would make sense for that deal to be replicated for us.”

However, Yoshiji Nogami, president of the Japan Institute of International Affairs, and a former ambassador to the UK, said: “We can’t negotiate until Britain is out of the EU. I think what Mr Abe wants to hear from the prime minister is where she hopes to land on Brexit.” RECOMMENDED Brexit free-trade illusions from the 19th century EU-Japan trade deal poses risks for post-Brexit UK Mrs May’s two-day visit, where she will be accompanied by a business delegation, comes as more Japanese companies begin discussions about moving their European headquarters from the UK to continental Europe. The first wave of moves involved Japan’s financial institutions, most of which have opted to establish hubs in Frankfurt and Amsterdam.

But as negotiations between the UK and Europe take shape, other Japanese trading houses and industrial companies have opened talks with European governments about shifting their bases from the UK, say lawyers and other advisers. “Now that the banks have worked out their strategies, there is a second wave of Japanese companies with European HQs in the UK currently looking carefully at their options elsewhere,” said one person familiar with the discussions of two major Japanese companies. Japanese companies are encountering strong inducements from rival European countries. Hitachi Rail, which took a controlling stake in the Italian rail group Ansaldo STS in 2015, is under pressure from Rome to move its European headquarters from the UK to Italy, according to Italian officials. Mrs May’s team believe that a transitional period between Brexit in 2019 and the entry into force of a new EU/UK trade deal would provide a period of up to three years in which to agree a new trade deal with Tokyo. In private, Mr Abe will urge Mrs May to minimise disruption for Japanese companies in the UK.

They are growing increasingly concerned about Britain’s plans to leave the EU customs union and single market. “We need transition arrangements so business has time to plan,” said a senior official of Keidanren, Japan’s biggest business organisation. “We want both sides to show flexibility, but in particular, we’d encourage the UK to recalibrate its basic position.” Many Japanese companies were encouraged to use the UK as a base to sell into the European single market by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. British ministers have been anxious to reassure them they are seeking to minimise the impact of Brexit. One minister said Japanese companies in Britain were treated as “home companies” and were fully involved in discussions about Brexit; companies including Honda, Nissan and Toyota have signalled their commitment to the UK in recent months. Nissan, which operates a large plant in Sunderland, was given personal assurances by Mrs May in October that the plant would not be affected by Brexit.
Given the main theme of the forum figured this was worth sharing. Japan really doesn't seem impressed by Brexit, having already issued a letter addressed to every British citizen to strongly consider if it's a wise decision and joining others in making plans to move European branches out of the UK.

Really not looking forward to being trapped on the outside of that trade deal they're working on with the EU.
Given the fact Japanese car factories are a key part of our economy, it might be worth giving a fudge.
Car companies are already investing in the UK and will continue to do so see recent announcements from Toyota and Nissan. Japan has bigger worries than Brexit, I doubt they will be too bothered as the weak pound makes exporting much more favorable.


Vampire Ninja
Japan produces cars here for EU sale because we are in both the single market and customs union. Remove us from that, as government and opposition both intend, and producing cars for the European market from the UK becomes far more expensive.

I started the thread with a news report that makes it clear Japan has no interest in Brexit Britain, especially when the EU itself is offering them a far more lucrative direct trade deal. When we leave we won't have a trade deal with them, nor are they in a rush to address that.
The idea we would have no trade deal in place with Japan is pretty ridiculous, if one thing Brexit has shown us is that everything is massively over exaggerated on both sides.
Plus I would take news reports from the FT (and others such as DM) with a pitch of salt as they are on one side or the other and will find things that agree with their stance.
A lot of it is yes. No one knows what is going to happen and those that say they do are lying. Today Japan might say they have no interest but next week there could be another report/letter to say that they do.


Vampire Ninja
Japan have been pretty clear they see Brexit as a negative and were far more on top of risk assessment than our own government for it.

Not aiming this at anyone in particular but it concerns me there seems to be this need around here to ignore what a dangerous situation we're in with all this.


Vampire Ninja
I don't know how to respond to that because I really don't want this thread to descend into bickering and name calling, which others have already started.

I don't know everything, but I am trying to pass on factual information.


State Alchemist

Much as I enjoy danger, my gut says we'll probably end up staying in the single market because it's what big business wants, it's what most MPs want and since when do these groups of people tell us the truth or give a damn about listening to the electorate?


Vampire Ninja
It would be nice to discuss this without the ever present feeling of "crazy is at it again". I've tried to be more respectful then the previous thread but don't feel I'm getting the same in return.