Fearing a no deal Brexit, Abe meets May in London

Japanese companies invest some 40 billion pounds a year into the UK economy. Nissan, Toyota and Honda together produce about half of Britain’s 1.7 million cars.


London (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Concerned about a no-deal Brexit between the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU), Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today met with his British counterpart, Theresa May.

For Japan, the main issue of the meeting was the future of billions of dollars in Japanese investments in what has been its "gateway” to the Old Continent.

On 15 January, the British parliament will vote on the draft agreement reached by the United Kingdom and the European Union. However, the deal has been criticised by May’s allies and might fail to pass.

For analysts, no deal would be catastrophic for Japanese companies. Since the days of Margaret Thatcher, Japan has invested heavily in the UK.

Japan is the second source of direct foreign (non-EU) investment in the UK. After the European Union, the United States and China, Japan is the largest market for British exports.

Japanese companies have been investing more than 40 billion pounds a year into the UK economy. Currently, about a thousand Japanese companies benefit from privileged economic relations with the United Kingdom. They include carmakers Nissan, Toyota and Honda, which together produce about half of the 1.7 million cars manufactured in the UK. Other major Japanese players are tech conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp and fashion brand Uniqlo.

“World attention is focused on the UK’s exit from the EU,” Abe told reporters before leaving Tokyo for his visit to the UK and the Netherlands.

In Rotterdam, Abe said he and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte agreed during bilateral trade talks that “we were both in for the avoidance of no-deal Brexit and confirmed the importance of a smooth process.”

“We want to see the influence of Brexit to the global economy be minimized through ensuring transparency, predictability and legal stability through a transition,” Abe added.

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