UK and Japan sign critical minerals cooperation agreement

Mon 30 Oct 2023
Posted by: Benjamin Roche
Trade News

Japan/UK flags

The governments of the UK and Japan have jointly signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) on critical minerals.

It sees the creation of a new partnership between the two countries that “delivers on a specific commitment made by leaders in the Hiroshima Accord”, the UK government says.

The MoC was signed on Saturday (28 October) during UK business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch’s visit to Japan for a G7 trade ministers’ meeting.

Building on the Accord

The Hiroshima Accord is an “enhanced UK-Japan strategic partnership” agreed between the two nations earlier this year, designed to develop their security relationship as well as their economic security.

The Accord text outlines “new partnerships in industrial science, innovation and technology, and in the semiconductor sector” as part of an effort to “maintain strategic advantage including in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum”.

Research partnership

The new MoC develops the Accord by building a framework for cooperation in areas including critical mineral data and traceability, research and innovation and infrastructure projects in third countries.

It also includes provisions to facilitate coordination and dialogue on supporting third countries to provide critical minerals.

Partnerships between industry and the public sector to develop procurement of critical minerals are another aspect of the MoC highlighted by the government, as are technical standards and environmental considerations.

Poultry in motion

Politico notes today in its Morning Trade newsletter that the deal is “focused on securing components used in aerospace, automotive and other advanced manufacturing sectors” in an effort to move supply chains away from China.

Badenoch and her team also secured an agreement on exports of British cooked chicken to Japan, which had been limited by Avian flu outbreaks in the UK poultry industry.

The UK government calculates that the chicken deal could yield £2bn for the country’s exporters.

British deputy chief veterinary officer Jorge Martin-Almagro said:

“This market access agreement is one more positive step forward for the UK poultry industry and is testament to the quality of their meat.”