UK-Japan Tech Forum Round-Up

On 26 November, techUK and JEITA organised the UK-Japan Tech Forum with a focus on assisting companies in making the most of the recently concluded UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Government officials and tech companies of all sizes and from both sides discussed the practical steps to unlock new opportunities arising from the UK-Japan trade deal, what they see as key benefits of the deal and how they intend to make the most of the emerging opportunities. 

The discussion was opened by Julian David, CEO, techUK and Keiichi Kawakami, Senior Executive Vice President, JEITA and moderated by Paul Patterson, CEO and Head of Northern & Western Europe, Fujitsu.

 

Opportunities

The completion of the UK-Japan CEPA had an overwhelmingly positive response from tech companies, welcoming the trade deal and the provisions in the digital trade chapter.

Transparency and mobility

Encouraging transparency through this deal creates opportunities for growth and trust across sectors. The cohesion of government regulations allows rapid growth of technologies with limited challenges arising from conflicting guidelines. It also encourages trust in digital trade and makes it easier to  do business; this also allows companies in Japan and the UK to work together, knowing they are all adhering to clear ethical benchmarks.

Talent and skills can now be interchangeable, encouraging diversity and allowing access to talent. Due to the ageing population, demand for talent in Japan may increase, while the need for developed talent in some sectors in the UK can now be fulfilled.

Data Sharing

The access of data and the capacity to use it is a key benefit of the UK-Japan trade deal as this opens many avenues across all sectors of the economy.

Ollie Whitehouse, Chief Technical Officer of the NCC Group stated that on a global scale, coordinating data sharing around cyber threats and deploying talent to where it needs to be at a specific time can help limit cyber risk around large, global scale events e.g. The Olympics.

Limiting restrictions to the free flow of data and data localisation requirements and allowing data movement will set the UK and Japanese companies apart from other emerging tech countries.

Collaboration

Partnership with another culture allows different perspectives to solve problems and increase efficiency.  This offers the opportunity to deploy projects simultaneously, helping to understand deployment issues and differences in regulations concurrently so new technologies can be released quickly.

Clear provisions around the recognition of electronic products, telecommunications, and radio equipment, as well as R&D into components such as sensors and data transmission devices that become a part of IoT solutions are of significant benefit.

The UK-Japan agreement also reduces the cost of doing business, particularly for SMEs. The need to host data in Japan causes major challenges which are very difficult for an SME to navigate. This agreement can help reduce this strain and also reduce the bureaucratic and the cost burden on companies that are innovating.

Other collaboration benefits include:

  • The ability for Japanese benefit providers to offer services in the UK, allowing Japanese companies to rapidly deploy their solutions into the UK. And the other way around.
  • Striking partnerships with Japanese companies that are interested in working with British companies on ‘hard problems’ and co-developing intellectual property.
  • Harmonisation around R&D Tax credits
  • Active participation of the private sectors in trade which will lead to the development of tech markets in both countries
  • Closer partnership on e-commerce issues globally: privacy, consumer protection and cybersecurity

 

What about SMEs?

The effectiveness of the UK-Japan trade deal and the potential for success in the immediate future lie on SME participation. Paddy La Torre, Public Policy & Partnerships Manager from Humanising Autonomy, noted that agreements and their results are often discussed in long term outcomes however, and asked how this agreement will enable smaller businesses in the upcoming weeks and months, and how will it change their day-to-day process and activities.  

The UK-Japan trade deal has many components, potentially making it difficult for all companies to be aware of all benefits offered. To rectify this, education and PR around the agreement should be amplified particularly to SMEs, both in Japan and the UK to ensure all are well informed and using the agreement to its full potential.

 

Government officials from both sides have participated and expressed strong support for industry-government cooperation in making sure as many companies as possible take advantage of this deal.

 

techUK looks forward to continuing to work with JEITA, our members, as well as governments on both sides to build an ever-stronger UK-Japan relationship based on this deal.

 

Should you wish to watch the whole Forum discussion, you can find it here. If members have any questions or wish to get involved in the UK-Japan forum moving forward, they should reach out to [email protected]

 

Sabina Ciofu

Sabina Ciofu

Programme Head, EU and Trade Policy, techUK