New partnership between Thames Valley (UK) and Osaka/Kansai (Japan)

20 October 2014

Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce signed MoU (memorandum of understanding) of Trade & Investment co-operation on the 6th October 2014.

A RECENT Japanese delegation visited Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce in a bid to identify and exploit new business links. The delegation consisted of government officials from Kansai METI, as well as representatives of the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and its member organisations.

This was the fifth visit to Thames Valley by a Japanese delegation, since the opportunity was opened up by Oceanbridge Management (OBM) in 2012. Since then, both sides have demonstrated energy and enthusiasm to look at potential business opportunities.

“This arrangement, which began from scratch in 2012, is clearly working very well both for representatives of Thames Valley and their colleagues in Kansai,” says OBM Managing Director Masako Eguchi- Bacon.

“In 2012 when I initiated the introduction between Kansai Region and Thames Valley, I knew there must be a good synergy and many business opportunities between the regions. After all, there are specific industry clusters including energy, life science and ICT in both areas. There are also established links with academic institutions.

“Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce has started focusing more on Asia. We know they have an on-going project in China, but that they are also interested in Japan. Kansai used to focus more on the USA, China and other Asian markets, but now they have started thinking they should work more closely with Europe.

“There are the geographical perceptions which are similar to both regions. Visitors to the UK tend to think ‘London’ and the same is true of ‘Tokyo’ for Japan. But the truth is that Thames Valley is a really established area with a lot of industry and talented individuals. Similarly in Japan, Kansai’s economy is equivalent to that of the whole of South Korea.

“I believe the people of Thames Valley and Kansai share an enthusiasm for business development and a hunger for sustainable growth and success. Oceanbridge is committed to assisting European and Japanese organisations who wish to explore investment and business opportunities.”

* METI Kansai (Kansai Bureau of Ministry of Economy , Trade and Industry)'s Guide to the Kansai Region