Badenoch leads luxury goods delegation to Japan to boost exports of 'iconic' UK fashion

Thu 26 Oct 2023
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

Japan and UK flags

Trade and business secretary Kemi Badenoch led a delegation of luxury goods producers to Japan yesterday (25 October), as part of efforts to boost sales of UK high-end goods to the Japanese market.

Ahead of the G7 meeting in Osaka this weekend, Badenoch brought the likes of Ettinger and Freya Rose to meet with Japanese buyers and showcase their products to the Asian market.

The Department for Business and Trade (DBT) describes this as the first secretary-led mission of its kind since 2017. This trip follows a luxury goods roundtable, held earlier this year in London.

‘Iconic’ brands

Badenoch said:

“I'm delighted to be travelling to Japan with iconic British brands to bang the drum for UK business, and help more companies take full advantage of the opportunities on offer from our free trade deals such as the UK-Japan agreement and CPTPP.

“The G7 trade summit gives me the opportunity to continue to champion free and fair trade on behalf of UK PLC, helping removing barriers to trade, strengthen supply chains and ensure the global trade rules work for British businesses.”

In 2022, UK fashion goods exports to Japan totalled £133m, which the DBT hopes to increase as part of its target to hit UK exports of £1tn by 2030.

Opportunities for UK fashion

Marco Forgione, director general of the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT), said that Japan was the UK’s 14th largest trading partner, but this could increase if trade procedures were simplified and tariffs removed.

He said that the visit could “explore how fashion houses and businesses in the UK can tap into this desire for a uniquely British look and increase their international footprint.”

“The secretary’s visit comes just weeks after she appointed some of the biggest names from the worlds of entertainment and fashion, such as handbag designer Anya Hindmarch, to her Board of Trade – one of the government’s highest profile advisory bodies.

“The next step is to truly understand how these new markets operate, where demand is high and where quality UK products can meet demands. British fashion businesses, with the right support and armed with education on the Japanese market, can thrive.”

Any other business?

Badenoch will also host a free trade agreement meeting with Japanese foreign minister Yōko Kamikawa.

The business and trade secretary is also set to announce what DBT describes as the largest UK government-guaranteed loan for a renewables project, in a joint collaboration between UK Export Finance and its Japanese counterpart.

DBT expects that this project will result in more than £130m in UK goods being made by Siemens Gamesa, in Hull, to build an offshore wind farm in Taiwan.