Exporting guide to Japan
A new trade deal with Japan
On 23 October 2020, the UK Government signed the Comprehensive and Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Japan. This agreement is projected to boost trade by £15.7 billion over the next 15 years.
Opportunities to build partnerships with Japanese companies
The new deal with Japan will benefit UK companies across several sectors, such as agriculture, food and drink, manufacturing, digital, and financial services sectors.
As a stable country with a large, wealthy, and highly educated consumer market, premium high-quality goods and services are in demand. Japanese companies are also extremely loyal and open to building long-term business relationships.
Strong support for trade with Japan
To help businesses trade with Japan, the Department for International Trade (DIT) has launched our Export to Japan hub, for free information on trading with Japan, including detailed market research, events, industry guides, and practical step-by-step exporting advice.
Japan: at a glance
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Opportunities for exporters
Japan is an advanced economy, with a large, rich and highly-educated consumer market who are early adopters of new products and services.
Japan is consistently at the forefront of anything new, from robotics and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to additive manufacturing and autonomous systems. Japanese companies are always scanning the horizon for new technologies to add to their arsenal.
Joint digital market
Within the UK-Japan agreement, new provisions have been agreed on issues like source code protection and net neutrality to bring the UK and Japan – two of the world’s most technologically advanced nations – into a joint digital market. This will create new opportunities for UK tech firms and foster innovation across both countries.
Robust demand for UK digital exports
The UK digital industry exported £675 million worth of services to Japan in 2018. £265 million of this was in computer programming, consultancy, and related activities. Globally, our industry is seeing a rapid rise in demand, with a 14.7% increase in UK digital services exports between 2017 and 2018.
Growing demand for authentic British products
Authentic products that are emblematic of British culture are particularly popular among Japanese consumers. The demand for goods such as beer, black teas, whiskies, biscuits and shortbread, and Scottish smoked salmon have seen particular growth in recent years. The new UK-Japan trade agreement ensures iconic UK goods will receive enhanced protections.
Fewer restrictions under new trade agreement
The UK Government has agreed improved Rules of Origin (RoO) under the UK-Japan trade deal, potentially allowing £88.2 million more of UK exports to receive preferential tariffs in Japan. Restrictions have been removed for manufacturers of high-potential exports such as pet food and baked goods, meaning manufacturers have greater freedom when sourcing their ingredients.
A respect for heritage
Many Japanese consumer consider the ‘Made in the UK’ label to be a sign of true authenticity. There is particularly strong demand for British fashion brands with a heritage, and those brands with Royal Warrant association.
High demand for British textiles
In 2019 alone, the UK exported more than £175 million worth of textiles and leather products to Japan. As part of the new UK-Japan trade agreement, enhanced customs provisions have been negotiated that minimise costs and administrative burdens, meaning Japanese customers can get more of the British products they enjoy.
Simplified Rules of Origin
Under the new UK-Japan trade deal, UK clothing exports to Japan have become easier. Producers may now undergo a single manufacturing process in the UK – for example, sewing together imported fabrics into one coat – and then export to Japan under tariff preference, provided 50% of the inputs are sourced domestically.