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Trade and Investment for Growth

The Department for Business Innovation & Skills recently published a white paper on the subject of Trade and Investment for Growth (download PDF file; 997 kB) that stresses Japan’s importance as one of the key markets for new business opportunities as the world emerges from the global recession. To help things along, the UK Government is hoping to set up an EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement that could potentially “deliver €43.4 billion additional EU exports to Japan”.

However, the document raises concerns about the lack of language skills among UK businesses, an issue that was also mentioned by Baroness Coussins in a House of Lords debate yesterday:

Another figure worth quoting, given the explosion in online sales, is that over 70 per cent of consumers require information in their native language in order to make an online purchase, while people who do not have good English are six times less likely to buy from an English-only site. It is self-defeating and inaccurate to think that English is enough. Only 6 per cent of the world’s population are native English speakers and 75 per cent speak no English at all. The relative amount of internet content in English is declining but that in Chinese is rising and there are more blogs in Japanese than in English.

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Header image: Busy night-time traffic appears as trails of light in this long exposure shot of Akasaka-Mitsuke (赤坂見附) in Tokyo by user DarkFritz at Wikimedia Commons.

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