Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid has welcomed news that the UK and Japanese governments have started talks on a free trade agreement.
Negotiators will build upon the existing deal between the two countries, securing additional benefits in areas such as digital trade and providing support for small businesses.
Last year, UK trade with Japan was worth over £30billion. About 9,500 UK-based businesses exported goods to the country, helping to employ 2.4million people.
Government analysis shows a UK Japan FTA could be worth £1.5billion in the long, with the greatest benefits in Scotland, London and the East Midlands.
Both countries are also dedicated to leading the global response to the economic challenges posed by coronavirus, making international trade easier and fairer and avoiding a retreat into protectionism.
Mr Duguid, who served as a parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to the Department of International Trade, said: “It is great to see trade talks aimed at building upon our already strong links with Japan.
“There are huge potential benefits to doing more business with Japan, which can help support jobs, increase access to Asian markets, grow our economy and drive up wages.
“The north-east of Scotland has long and historic links with Japan going back to the industrialist Thomas Blake Glover, who was originally from Fraserburgh.
“This deal is just one of several that the UK Government is currently working on – with talks underway with the EU, the United States and soon to start with Australia and New Zealand.”