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Miguel Martínez, president of the Spanish-Japanese Chamber of Commerce:

“Fruits and vegetables from Almeria have great opportunities in the Japanese market”

Japan, the third largest economy in the world, has 124.7 million consumers with a high purchasing power, and 85% of the EU's agri-food products have been arriving there duty free since February 1, 2019, thanks to the Free Trade Agreement signed between the EU and Japan.

"Japan is a market that has room for any high quality products, including fruits and vegetables," said Miguel Martinez, president of the Spanish-Japanese Chamber of Commerce. "In general, it is open to trends and new things, and consumers will try new products as long as they are backed by good marketing and promotions. When it comes to food, Spain has the advantage that Spanish gastronomy and the concept of the Mediterranean diet are highly appreciated in Japan because they are perceived as natural and traditional, very similar to Japanese gastronomy.

It should also be noted that although Japan has a surface area similar to that of Italy, the country's mountainous orography limits the amount of arable land. According to ICEX data, only 11.7% of the land is used for cultivation, and 55% of that cultivated land (more than half) is used for rice production. "Although they grow some very high quality fruits and vegetables there, they also buy premium products from other parts of the world, which have been incorporated into their regular diet. They appreciate attention to detail and perfection, as well as knowing the history behind each product. Therefore, we at the Spanish-Japanese Chamber of Commerce believe that Spanish fruit and vegetable products, with Almeria at the head, have great opportunities in the Japanese market, even though additional efforts will need to be made."

Miguel Martínez.

"It should be noted that the agreement between the EU and Japan greatly facilitated trade relations between the two parties, with the disappearance or lowering of tariffs on many products, but it has only been in force since 2019, when the pandemic generated major logistical and commercial disruptions at a global level," says Miguel.

"Traditionally, some fruits and vegetables are imported to Japan from Mexico, the United States..., and we will have to compete against flavors, colors, shapes or formats that Japanese consumers are already familiar with. But we are counting on the uniqueness of Spanish products, and on the room already devoted to Spanish products not just in the retail, but also in restaurants and stores," said the president of the Chamber.

"In Almeria specifically there is already a group of fruit and vegetable companies that are getting organized to start exporting vegetables to the Japanese market. And they, in fact, have already been visited by potential Japanese clients, who traveled to the province to visit the growing areas and facilities."

"The logistical challenges have already been overcome, since these companies are experts in the export of fresh fruits and vegetables to the world, and the quality of the products grown in Almeria is superior, which is what truly matters. Contrary to what happens in other markets, prices are not a determining factor to reach Japan; it is something that can almost be considered secondary. That's why it doesn't make sense to supply a second-rate product. To be successful, you only need to export the best."

"We have held seminars in El Ejido to provide information about the opportunities and particularities of the Japanese market"
"The Spanish-Japanese Chamber of Commerce helps companies discover the actual opportunities that their products have in Japan. We look into what they want to do and our collaborators and correspondents in Japan come up with the best possible strategies to introduce the products in the country. In fact, we organize seminars for Almeria-based companies in El Ejido to provide them information about the opportunities and particularities of the Japanese market, as well as about the requirements for the export of fresh products and the formalities demanded in the negotiations."

"In general, what is most recommended to promote yourself and start building relationships is to attend events, because being able to see and try the product is very important for the Japanese, whether in presentations at Spanish restaurants in Japan, for example, inviting distributors, importers, chefs and journalists, or taking part in trade fairs in the sector."

"Anuga Select Japan, to be held on April 10-12 in Tokyo, and Wellness, which will take place on July 16-18, also in Tokyo, are two of the fairs in which we will participate in 2024, and which we expect to be attended by this group of companies from Almeria, as well as by others aiming to enter the Japanese market."

"Any exporters interested in learning about the opportunities for Spanish products in the Japanese market are always welcome to contact us for advice and an opportunity to increase their chances of success."

For more information:
Cámara Comercial Hispano-Japonesa
Tel.: +34 918 511 211

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