Export insights from Japan

24 May 2017

New Zealand Trade Commissioner to Japan, Craig Pettigrew, shares tips for doing business in Japan, following last week’s trade mission led by Prime Minister Bill English and business leaders.  

On his recent trade mission to Japan, the Prime Minister was accompanied by New Zealand business leaders from industries where the two countries can further strengthen their trade relationships and work together for mutual benefit, including food and beverage, agritech, renewable energy, and major events hosting.

Japan is New Zealand’s fourth largest goods export market and is worth $3 billion (JPY234b) to us - with fruit one of our top exports, accounting for $410 million (JPY32b).

Japan and New Zealand have a strong relationship, and there is good accessibility and stability in the market. Japan is currently taking a more outward-looking approach to business and cultural engagement, while exporters worldwide are taking a second look at Japan as they realise the unique opportunities it offers.

This presents enormous opportunities for New Zealand, but like exporting to any market, they should be carefully considered. Here are some tips, based on my observations during the trade mission:

  1. Focus on the right markets and locations in Japan. The successful companies we see in Japan are those that have committed to long-term relationships and have the right partners to help them grow. 
  2. Look at opportunities to raise your business profile out of the major sports events that Japan will be hosting over the next few years: Rugby World Cup 2019, Summer Olympics and Paralympics 2020, and the World Masters Games 2021.
  3. Ensure your marketing, branding and product is the right fit for consumers. The business delegation travelling with the Prime Minister on the trade mission learned about Japan’s supply chain and retail industries through visiting a major supermarket chain, hosted by Zespri Japan.