Select Committee on Trade and Industry Annxes to the Report

Follow-up Questions


The Government response stated that the Action Japan programme would be reviewed annually. It would be helpful to have a copy of the evaluation of the Action Japan progamme

  The Country Market Plan for 1999-2000 formed the basis for the work of the Action Japan campaign throughout the year. The annexes to the plan are the more detailed sector plans for each of our nine initiative sectors, plus a cross-sectoral theme of Investment into Japan. These are attached at Annex A.[1] Since the last update report to the TISC, the only change to the list of initiative sectors has been the addition of Automotive Technology.

  The sector plans for each of these initiative sectors are living documents, updated regularly with quarterly input from the six Japan Trade Advisers members of the private-sector advisory body for Japan, each of whom "shadows" our work in one or two of these sectors. The inclusion of the appropriate sectors is reviewed in this body annually and incorporated into the subsequent year's country market plan.

  Since 1998, the DTI (subsequently Trade Partners UK) has moved away from evaluating the success of campaigns that are based on macroeconomic data—eg overall level of exports. Evaluations of the effectiveness of the campaign have therefore taken place periodically, with results being taken into account at the annual production of the Country Market Plan. Key indicators in this respect are:

    —  New companies introduced to the market.

    —  Surveys of companies who have used TPUK services, such as attending seminars, commissioning tailored market information, and attending TPUK-supported trade missions and trade fairs.

    —  Records of success stories for companies we have assisted.

  Since 1998, EJU has started working with a total of 3,008 additional companies not previously known to us (this is compared to a total customer base of 9,563). Although precise data about when they were "introduced" to the market is difficult to ascertain, samples we have analysed from our database suggest that one in five of these, or 600 companies in total have no previous significant trading relationship with Japan. The original target of 1,000 companies by the end of 2001 should be in reach although work is now underway within TPUK to standardise the evaluation of all target markets, which may mean a refocusing of objectives.

  As far as customer satisfaction for TPUK services is concerned, independently-commissioned surveys show a consistent level of satisfaction of over 90 per cent (NB the figures are aggregated for the International Group of TPUK as a whole but the desk keeps copies of Japan-specific returns). The TPUK Operational Research Unit's (ORU) overview of UK promotional events organised by TPUK from January-June 2000 shows the following:

Key points

    —  Target:  50 per cent of participants adjust their approach to exporting through help given. Achieved overall (92 per cent), up from 91 per cent for the previous quarter.

    —  Target:  70 per cent of participants improve knowledge as a result of events. Achieved overall (96 per cent), up from 93 per cent for the previous quarter.

    —  Target:  80 per cent of participants satisfied with events. Achieved overall (98 per cent), the same as the previous quarter.

  Overall satisfaction 98 per cent, of whom 35 per cent very satisfied

    —  Target  50 per cent of participants return questionnaires to event organisers. Achieved overall (50 per cent) and by IG2 and IG4, up from 41 per cent overall for the previous quarter.

    —  Forty-five per cent (previous quarter: 43 per cent) of participants said they would research further as a result of the event; 41 per cent (previous quarter: 36 per cent) said they would visit the overseas market. 40 per cent (previous quarter: 40 per cent) wanted further contact, 20 per cent (previous quarter: 20 per cent) of whom by a Market Desk.

  Full information on this research, which is produced by Harris Research for TPUK is available on request. In addition we produce evaluation reports on specific major events we organise to promote Japanese opportunities in specific sectors, or to introduce companies to the market on trade missions.

  Success stories are complied by TPUK staff at posts in Japan and us. Success stories are sent to Strategy and Communications section of TPUK and placed in selected trade publications to promote our services.

  In terms of companies assisted by supported trade missions, for FY 1999-2000, of the 33 scheduled missions, 29 took place with 380 companies taking part.

The future

  As part of the branding policy of TPUK, it has been decided that the Action Japan campaign will be brought to an end at the end of this financial year. Future activity will continue to focus on selected initiative sectors, approved by the successor body to the Japan Trade Advisers (provisionally named: TPUK—Japan Advisers). Japan will also continue to be TPUK target market, attracting extra resources for assisting UK companies in their trade development. The name "Action Japan" and the logo will be discontinued, however.


It would be interesting to see the results of the survey tenants of the British Industry Centre at Yokohama and the latest assessment of progress there

  The survey under reference was produced in May 1999 in conjunction with the City of Yokohama who used it to assess the impact of the BIC on the local economy. The report is attached at Annex B.[2]

  The summary indicates a high-level of success in attracting British companies to Yokohama and satisfaction of the tenants of the Centre. One point which was criticised, however, was the flat service charge of Y110,000 per month. Since the report was produced, further companies entering the Centre has allowed this figure to be reduced to Y65,000.

  Current occupancy of the Centre is encouraging. There are 13 companies in residence, four of which have joined this year. The majority are industrial companies, a core of which are software/IT related, taking advantage of the Centre's impressive IT infrastructure. There is still room for a further seven companies, although the remaining offices are smaller than the average. A list of the tenant companies is available on request.


The Committee would be assisted by an update on the success of the UK High-Tech Website, particularly the response from UK companies

  This project continued until the Summer of this year, at which time the service came to an end. The site started up on 1997 through sponsorship of Mitsubishi Research Institute, Itochu Corporation and Creative Link of Japan. It required Y1.5 to two million per month to maintain this service, principally translation, all of which came from Japanese sponsors.

  Press releases from UK firms were supplemented by a monthly summary report on high-tech in the UK, edited by Mr H Kato, a representative of Gifu prefecture in London (Gifu is promoting itself as the high-tech capital of Japan) with the assistance of TPUK export promoters.

  Despite promotion efforts of TPUK, DTI and others in the UK, the volume of information submitted by the UK firms was not overwhelming. A common problem commented upon by the Japanese was that UK companies tended not to use the site for their latest announcements, unlike their US counterparts, but submitted material a few months delayed. The resource implications for the UK side in promoting the site and soliciting contributions also became too onerous, giving shifting resources within TPUK.

  In view of these factors, the sponsors decided not to continue funding the site after this summer, although the server for the site is still running and available, should we wish to restart in the future. This would have to be on a commercial basis to be viable.

Industrial and Trade Relations with Central Europe, Twelfth Report of 1997-98, HC 893: Government Response, Second Special Report, HC 211

  1.  The inquiry concentrated on three of those countries identified by the European Commission as likely to attain membership of the EU in the first stage of enlargement—Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland. The principal focus of the inquiry was a visit to those three countries in July 1998. It also looked at DTI's Open for Business in central Europe campaign, launched in January 1997. The Report was published in October 1998 and the Government's response was published in February 1999.

  2.  The Committee concluded that January 1997 was late to notice that central Europe was indeed open for business. DTI accepted the Committee's conclusion with hindsight, although they felt that starting the campaign earlier would not necessarily have had the full support of British industry. They also accepted that numerical targets had probably been a mistake.

  3.  Prior to the exercise conducted following the Liaison Committee Report, the Committee had requested updates from DTI and from the UK Steel Association on progress since the Government's response. These Memoranda were received in March 2000.

1   Not printed. Back

2   Not printed. Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 18 January 2001