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Transport Minister Baroness Kramer visited Taiwan and Japan (26 to 30 January 2015) to raise the profile of UK companies in the rail and transport sector.
The minister led the biggest ever railway delegation to Taiwan, consisting of 14 UK companies and organisations to showcase their expertise in complex, large scale rail infrastructure projects such as HS2, Crossrail and network electrification that are at the heart of the government’s rail modernisation programme.
This visit included a seminar which brought together UK experts and over 200 decision-makers in Taiwan’s railway, metro lines and station development projects. The minister witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between railway associations to strengthen the exchange of rail technology, and a letter of intent for the UK’s National Skills Academy for railway engineering to offer training courses to Taiwan.
Baroness Kramer said:
UK and Taiwan share bold plans and strong policies in transport and innovation in technology. Our companies continue to forge close ties with Taiwanese businesses and this visit helped to open new opportunities.
At home we are investing heavily in our national infrastructure to build a stronger economy and fairer society. This will create new jobs and opportunities for businesses in the UK including opportunities for Taiwanese inward investment. I look forward to much closer collaboration which will bring further opportunities to both sides.
She also met the new Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je and Deputy Mayor Teng Chia-Ji to discuss urban regeneration and smart city planning as well as public transport safety issues.
Taiwan will build 6 metro lines and upgrade its railways over the next 15 years at an estimated value of over £11 billion, presenting huge potential to UK businesses.
UK companies have been actively involved in many transport projects in Taiwan, including high speed rail, Kaoshiung Metro, Taipei Metro, and a new rail link connecting Taoyuan International Airport with Taipei City.
Jeremy Candfield, Director General of the UK’s Railway Industry Association, who accompanied the minister in Taiwan, said:
UK companies have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the Taiwan rail sector and we look forward to developing this further. We are especially delighted that Baroness Kramer agreed to lead the mission. Tangible support for industry like this makes a real difference to our impact in markets overseas and is very welcome.
In Japan, Baroness Kramer visited Hitachi, Toyota, and Nissan which have significant interest in the UK and directly contribute to job creation here. The minister emphasised the vital importance of retaining this investment and had fruitful discussion on strengthening research and development cooperation, and the sharing of expertise in the transport sector especially in rail, ultra-low emission vehicles and driverless technology.
Hitachi is building the Class 800 trains for the government’s £5.7 billion InterCity Express Programme in the UK, creating 730 jobs. Recruitment of skilled workers has started and the new factory will source components from over 30 UK-based suppliers. East Japan Railway Company has also recently established an office in London to better position themselves for the UK rail market.
The minister also shared the experience of London’s 2012 Olympics and discussed how UK companies can help Japan ensure the same successes at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
Baroness Kramer said:
Japan is a significant partner to the UK and I was delighted to have the opportunity to explore further opportunities for cooperation in transport.
In particular I am keen to ensure that our supply chain is engaged with Japan’s development plans in upcoming major projects such as the Olympics. The UK has a great deal to offer in terms of expertise, high quality products and services.