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East Midlands Chamber News

Trade wins for Norton motorcycles and farmers

A series of new deals for British and Japanese companies and farmers is worth more than £200m and will help to support hundreds of jobs in the UK.

The deals were announced as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Prime Minister Theresa May in London.

Among them, British motorcycle company and Chamber member Norton has signed a £20m export deal to Japan, which will support 200 jobs in the UK and see around 1,000 new motorbikes sold to Japanese customers over the next five years.

It was also announced that British farmers will now be able to export beef and lamb to Japan for the first time since the two meats were banned in 1996. The total agreement is estimated to be worth around £130m over the first five years - £75m for beef and £52m million for lamb.

As we leave the European Union, the Prime Ministers confirmed their intention to ensure the continued applicability of the Japan-EU international agreements, including the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement which will form the basis for a new UK-Japan agreement.

They agreed that both countries will work quickly to establish the economic partnership, with the intention that it should come into force as soon as possible.

Both countries have also committed to work together to reform the World Trade Organization (WTO) and reduce global trade tensions that exist, including through Japan’s presidency of the G20 this year.

Efforts to reform the WTO will focus on advancing discussions on reforming the rules to better address the root causes of trade tensions, advancing discussions on digital trade, enhancing the WTO’s notification and monitoring functions, and improving the functioning of the dispute settlement system.

Prime Minister Abe reconfirmed support for the UK potentially joining the Comprehensive and Progress Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which would see the UK forging stronger trade links with established trading partners such as Japan and Canada, as well as rapidly growing economies such as Vietnam.

This would allow free and frictionless trade for many British businesses, helping them to expand into some of the world’s largest and fastest growing markets.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox said: "The UK and Japan are among the strongest champions of free trade and an even closer relationship as we leave the European Union will help us to rally against the protectionist measures around the world that risk making us all poorer.

That’s why today we have committed to reduce global trade tensions, reform global trading rules and bring a new UK-Japan free trade agreement into force as soon as possible.

On top of this, we have announced more than £200m worth of export and investment deals that will see Hamleys toy shop, Norton motorcycles and British farmers increasing their presence in Japan and supporting hundreds of jobs in both of our countries."

Kay Johnson, Head of Global Sales and Marketing at Norton motorcycles said: "Norton have an agreement with our distributor, PCI Limited in Japan which will run over a five-year term to manufacture over 1,000 bikes and will achieve an estimated value of £20m.

We very much look forward to growing our workforce to support the demand for motorbikes in this territory and, in doing so, continue to build a strong trading business with Japan."

In the past year, trade between the UK and Japan totalled more than £28bn, an increase of five per cent on the year before.

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