Japan’s most important trade partners are China and the US, followed by South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Germany. Japanese export and import volumes have been slow to pick up. In the first three quarters of 2013 import volumes barely budged, although recent months have seen a stronger trend with Q4 2013 seeing import growth of around 9% on a year earlier. Japan’s large devaluation may also have a negative impact in the short term at least on some of the lower-income countries in Asia, whose dependence on Japan as an export market is greater. Japan has a trade surplus. The most important import goods are raw materials such as oil, foodstuffs and wood. Major suppliers include China, followed by the US, Australia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates.
Opportunities for UK businesses
Japan holds plenty of promise for businesses looking to operate in a large stable market. Japan remains the high-tech powerhouse economy of Asia – with the 2nd highest spend worldwide on R&D. With a population of 128 million, the Japanese market is characterised by consumers with high levels of disposable income. The following sectors offer UK businesses great opportunities: services, technology, life sciences, manufacturing and with Japan hosting the Olympics in 2020 UK’s expertise are in great demand.
Visit Export Britain for more information and to find support in this market.