On 8 February 2018, the Japan-Spain Business Circle (CEJE), in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce of Sevilla, held a workshop entitled ‘Japan: 127 million consumers within your reach’. Present at the event were the Secretary of State for Commerce, Ms. Marisa Poncela; the Japanese Ambassador to Spain, Mr. Masahi Mizukami, the Secretary General of Economy of the Junta of Andalusia and President of Extenda, Gaspar Llanes, the Chairman of CEJE, Jorge Lasheras, the Chairman of the Board of Trade of Sevilla, Francisco Herrero, and the Territorial Director of CESCE for Andalusia and Extremadura, Álvaro Portes.
The aim of the meeting was to discus the opportunities currently offered by Japan, both in terms of the marketing of products and services, and the development of investment projects, thanks to the Free Trade Agreement that will soon enter into force in 2019. The Secretary of State for Commerce, Marisa Poncela, focused her remarks on the advantages of this agreement and pointed out that “a commitment to free trade and globalization is essential for the economy”. In addition, she pointed out that the treaty “is welcomed by the food and agriculture industry, especially in Andalusia”, since it will allow 85% of the agricultural products of the European Union to enter the Japanese market duty free.
Poncela also mentioned pharmaceutical, chemical, industrial and cosmetic products, which “represent great opportunities in the Japanese market”, as they will be benefitted by this agreement, which promises to reduce plant-health and other health measures.
For his part, the Japanese Ambassador to Spain, Masashi Mizukami, conveyed the “good feelings of the Japanese people towards Andalusia”, and encouraged entrepreneurs in other industries to get to know the Japanese market and help to intensify trade in both directions.
The Secretary General of the Economy the Junta of Andalusia and President of Extenda, Gaspar Llanes, emphasized the importance of Japan as one of the world’s great powers. “It is the Asian country with the greatest economic and political power, with a highly advanced economy, and a commitment to quality, innovation, and security,” he stated. In addition, Llanes told the Japanese entrepreneurs present that “Andalusia is a good place to invest.”
The Japan-Spain Business Circle took full advantage of the occasion to make its presence known in Sevilla, at an event directed to Andalusian companies that export to Japan and who were also able to meet with Japanese companies with an interest in Spain and particularly in Andalusia. In his opening remarks at the event, CEJE’s chairman, Jorge Lasheras, underscored the fact that exporting from Andalusia to Japan is a reality. In this regard, he explained that “CEJE is working to promote this reality through agreements that drive inter-company cooperation and bilateral relations between the companies of both countries.” Jorge Lasheras offered the assistance of the CEJE to Andalusian companies as a platform for meeting, networking, and lobbying in their relationships with the Japanese market.
The following companies participated in the round table: Mitsubishi Spain, Iberia, Migasa, and Consorjabugo, who shared success stories in connection with exports to Japan. Kiyoshi Azuma, president of Mitsubishi Spain, emphasized the development capacity of joint projects between Spanish and Japanese companies, as well as with third countries. “This cooperation helps Japanese companies to enter the Latin American market and helps Spanish companies to gain a greater presence in Asia,” explained Azuma.
For his part, Juan Cierco, Director of Communications and IR for Iberia, mentioned the importance of the role that the company plays in making connections between Spain and Japan, which will affect future business relations between the countries as well as tourism. Finally, Antonio Gallego, general director of the Migasa Group, and José Luis Galván, international sales director for Consorjabugo, pointed to Japan as a priority country in their export efforts, and underscored its potential “with the application of the new trade agreement between Spain and Japan, which will enter into force in 2019.” Later, an animated discussion was held with the public in attendance, who participated with great enthusiasm.