Make small businesses big in Japan after Brexit

Britains Prime Minister Theresa May

Ahead of today’s visit to the UK by the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Federation of Small Businesses National Chairman Mike Cherry sets out his thoughts on trade over the forthcoming 12 months.

Currently, 130,000 small businesses export to Japan, highlighting the importance of continued trade between the two nations.

FSB National Chairman, Mike Cherry, said: “We already have one-in-five small businesses exporting and growing their business through overseas trade. With bold steps, and the right support, this could be doubled to 40%.

“During Prime Minister Abe’s visit to the UK, it’s important to note that almost 20% of current exporters, trade with Japan.

“These strong numbers in Japan and elsewhere can be improved, but to do this, the Government needs to develop its export strategy in 2019, with a proper small-business-focused assistance system including export support vouchers and soft loans, so experts can be brought in to help growing small businesses crack new markets. These measures could be critical for firms who are trying to solidify their long-term futures.

“The UK’s demand for exporting overseas has continued to increase in recent years, with the most recent figures reaching £626bn. Whatever outcome that is achieved with Brexit, 2019 must be the year we put rocket boosters under our plans to trade around the world. It is essential that the UK benefits from the EU-Japan trade deal that is likely to be in force before we leave the European Union. Ensuring the continuity of existing and imminent trade deals that we are party to after Brexit is a critical priority for our exporting smaller businesses. If we do this, then we can lift the UK’s exports to £1 trillion.

“Overseas trade is essential for the success of small businesses, who are the backbone of the UK economy.”