• Institutional Support and Local Partners: Decisive Factors in Strengthening the Spain-Japan Chemical Export Sector

Monday, 10 October, 2022
IQS Fundación Empresas


Outside of the European Union the Japanese market represents the second highest country in terms of year-on-year growth for Spanish exports (15.2%) in 2021, surpassed only by the US (20.3%) and coming in a spot ahead of China (13.2%). In order to explore the challenges and needs facing Spanish companies in the chemical sector that export to Japan, the IQS Business Foundation, in collaboration with the Japan Spain Business Circle (CEJE), organized a roundtable to analyse and learn about the challenges and opportunities of this growing industry in Japan.

Among the attendees who participated in the roundtable, Dr Salvador Borrós,  Director of IQS, welcomed the participants to the event, which was moderated by Dr Carlos Moslares, Dean of the IQS School of Management. It is worth highlighting the roundtable's unanimous agreement in terms of establishing the main needs of the Spanish chemical sector for exporting to Japan. The participants referred to the importance of having a "local partner," commercial connection, or distributor to facilitate entry into an international market that presents "cultural and regulatory complexities," said Gonzalo Andreu, Sales Account Manager with Indukern. “The complexity lies in entering the market. Once inside, everything depends on the circumstances," said Ignasi Biosca, CEO of Reig Jofre.

Along with the abovementioned representatives from the institutional and business worlds, the roundtable also featured participation by Jorge Lasheras, President of CEJE; Cristina Serradell, Director of Internationalization at Acció; and José Ignacio Pradas, Territorial Director of Commerce and ICEX for Catalonia. Along with Andreu and Biosca, David Perdigo, CEO of Noucor, and Juan Carlos Lascorz, CEO of Plimon Global, were present from the business sector.

The institutional factor as a key

One of the main conclusions reached by the roundtable, which was characterized by consensus regarding the reality of chemical sector exports between Spain and Japan, was highlighting the importance of institutional support for the private sector when it comes to favourably developing the commercialization of chemical products in Japan.

The representative from Acció highlighted that 31% of the total exports from Spain to Japan are made by Catalan companies, a highly relevant fact showcasing the importance of exports to Japan. She noted that the Acció office in Tokyo opened in 1989, trailing only behind the offices of France and the United States. For his part, the Territorial Director of Commerce and ICEX of Catalonia, José Ignacio Pradas, encouraged companies to make use of the agency's export and investment programmes, called ICEX Next, with the aim of promoting and favouring the presence and foreign development of Catalan and Spanish companies in Japan.

Since 2019, and following the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), a large market has opened up for European companies that wish to do business in Japan. This scenario is possible mainly due to the reduction of tariffs and the progressive unification of standards.