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Japan open for business, says Cable

Business Secretary Vince Cable has told UK firms that Japan was "safe and open for business" following the recent earthquake and tsunami.

He completed a tour of Japan with a speech to 200 business leaders, in which he re-affirmed the importance of the UK's relationship with the country and the Government's support in dealing with the aftermath of the disaster.

The minister encouraged Japanese leaders to embrace trade and openness and urged UK businesses to seize the opportunities for growth in the country.

Dr Cable said: "Getting businesses back on track will necessarily be of the highest priority in reinvigorating Japanese industry. The UK stands ready and willing to help in any way it can.

"I want UK firms to see that Japan is safe and open for business. Yesterday I launched a campaign to encourage renewed trade and investment between our countries, and I hope to see many more partnerships opening up in the years to come as Japan recovers and looks to the future."

He also reiterated the UK's support for Japan's aspirations for a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, following the decision in Brussels last weekend to launch an exercise ahead of possible future negotiations.

Dr Cable said: "The British Government, led by the Prime Minister, intervened with EU counterparts to achieve progress. Action is now in Japan's hands. Relaxation of import regulations for relief goods, difficulties presented by Japan's unique standards, demonstrate the benefits of coming closer in line with global standards.

"The conclusion of an EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement could generate over 50 billion euro (£44 million) in additional exports from Japan to the EU - and more than 40 billion euro (£35 million) of additional exports from the EU to Japan."

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