TWENTY Welsh businesses are hoping to boost exports to Japan thanks to a virtual export market visit organised by the Welsh Government.
Newly appointed Welsh Government Envoy Koji Tokumasu, who was instrumental in bringing the Rugby World Cup to Japan in 2019, has been supporting Welsh businesses and is meeting with them to help boost links and exports between the two countries.
The virtual export visit, which recently began and is taking place over four weeks, is his first official role since he was appointed last month.
The Welsh Government, working with its Tokyo office, has set-up a series of meetings for the Welsh businesses and is providing tailored support.
The event is being held virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The visit provides Welsh businesses, from sectors such as food and drink, consumer products, high value manufacturing and technology, with the opportunity to showcase their products and services, gain valuable contacts and build their exports in the market.
Businesses taking part will benefit from market briefings, one-to-one Welsh Government support and inclusion in digital marketing.
Japan was chosen as a key country to target to boost Welsh exports due to it having the world’s third largest economy and being the fourth largest internationally trading nation.
In addition, the UK and Japan recently signed a Free Trade Agreement which will provide continuity for Welsh businesses already trading with the country under the terms of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). It is also hoped that this will give increased confidence to Welsh companies who export to Japan and will encourage Welsh SMEs to consider it as an export market for their goods.
Wales’ goods exports to Japan in 2019 were worth £295.9 million.
Koji Tokumasu, who was chosen as an envoy due to his passion for Wales and after living here during the 1970s, said: “I’m looking forward to forging links between Wales and Japan and playing my part in boosting exports between these two great nations.
“I am determined to do everything I can to raise the profile of Wales on the world stage and support Welsh businesses in their efforts to build relationships, contacts, investment and exports with countries like Japan.”
Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates, said: “These visits are hugely important in boosting Welsh exports, which have been hit hard in recent months due to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic.
“Since leaving the European Union, and the continued uncertainty on arrangements following the end of the transition period, it is vital that we continue to support Welsh businesses in exploring new markets around the world.
“We need to utilise the expertise, business contacts and relationships, including from our envoys, to give us the best platform to showcase Wales to the world and demonstrate we are open for business.”