IoD and Keizai Doyukai leaders discuss strategic opportunities in CPTPP for UK and Japan

In a landmark roundtable meeting hosted by the Institute of Directors (IoD) and Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives), leaders explored strategic opportunities within the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The meeting, featuring prominent figures from the business and trade sectors, aimed to foster collaboration and understanding between the UK and Japan in light of evolving economic frameworks.

Opening the discussion, Andrew Lambert, Fellow and Chair of the IoD International Trade Group, said the ever-evolving landscape of UK-Japan bilateral trade, particularly in light of the transformative CPTPP agreement, held immense potential for both nations.

Mr Lambert stressed that streaming regulations, reducing trade frictions and fostering open dialogue between businesses, governments and the IoD are vital steps to unlock the agreement’s power. Mr Osamu Mogi, Chair of the Globalization Promotion Committee of Keizai Doyukai responsible for the UK and Germany, emphasised the shared values between the UK and Japan, urging both nations to take the initiative to uphold the high standards of the CPTPP. He also highlighted the potential for joint market development in the Asia Pacific region, underscoring the agreement’s capacity to create a robust, fair free trade and investment system. Overall sentiment emphasised the importance of the CPTPP in establishing a safe and resilient supply chain based on high-quality rules and standards. The UK and Japan must engage in discussions to build a shared understanding of the bilateral economic framework’s value.

The digital economy presents a thrilling growth frontier. Embracing e-commerce, data-driven strategies and innovation will be critical for businesses to flourish in new trade landscapes, fostering cross-border digital collaboration and boosting global competitiveness. The ever-pressing focus on sustainability must be recognised. Aligning businesses with shared sustainable goals and championing environmentally friendly initiatives will resonate with consumers and investors alike while addressing the challenges posed by geopolitical uncertainties and global supply chain disruptions is essential. Diversifying supply sources, building contingency plans and advocating for stable international relations are more crucial than ever in this fluid climate.

The CPTPP represents an exciting opportunity for UK and Japanese companies to strengthen our trade ties by deepening our understanding of each other’s markets, embracing digital innovation, championing sustainable practices and navigating geopolitical challenges. Discussing its advantages over the UK-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the leaders talked about the benefits, including tariff reductions and increased market access to services and investments and the enhanced regulatory cooperation for goods and services trade among member countries. The importance of understanding rules of origin, complying with regulations and standards and being aware of potential challenges and risks were reiterated by participating members. Emma Rowland, policy advisor to the IoD, mentioned the importance of providing more precise guidance on culture and language to alleviate initial business frictions, particularly beneficial for SMEs with limited resources.

Dr Indranil Nath, Fellow and Chair of the IoD Japan Group, highlighted the potential for the UK and Japan to significantly impact benchmark agreements related to services, digital trade and telecommunications. Dr Nath called for collaboration between government and businesses to accelerate digitisation efforts in these crucial industries.

The IoD and Keizai Doyukai roundtable discussion provided a platform for thought leaders to explore collaborative opportunities and navigate the evolving landscape of international trade. The discussions underscored the pivotal role of the CPTPP in shaping a dynamic and resilient economic future for both the UK and Japan.

Author: Dr Yildiz Kara, Ambassador (Research) of IoD Japan Group and the volunteering team.

The roundtable took place on 24 October 2023, London.

This is a guest blog which contains the views of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of the IoD.

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