Transcript: Opportunities for Australian food and beverage exporters in Japan

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Catherine Taylor:

Japan is Australia’s second largest food and beverage export market, and with a self-sufficiency rate of around 39 per cent Japan is continually looking for year round supply of produce. Quality, food safety, traceability are all top of mind for Japanese consumers, and Australia’s reputation as a high quality clean and safe producer positions us really well to export to the Japanese market.

Australian exporters should consider Japan because the vein of opportunity can run really deep, it can be very long term and it can be highly profitable if you tap into it effectively. Japanese consumers appreciate quality and they want clean and safe food products, and they have a very positive image of Australia.

Australia and Japan will have an economic partnership agreement signed this year, and this will take the trade and investment relationship to a new level. It’ll open up all sorts of new opportunities for Australian businesses in this $5 trillion economy.

So to be successful in your exports to Japan we recommend that you firstly have an experienced and effective agent, and that’s something that Austrade can help you identify. You also need to know what your competitive advantage is and to be able to play to that. You need to look around and see what the competition is and where to position your product. You need to be responsive, issues will pop up along the way; you need to be quick to resolve them.

And importantly, you need to have a good understanding of the business culture. Japanese businesses can be more traditional, they can have a slightly different decision making process, there’s a need to invest in relationships and have really good solid communication. If you can give your attention to these things the chances are you’ll be very successful in this market.

We have four Austrade offices in Japan. We have one in Tokyo, in Osaka, in Fukuoka and in Sapporo, and we’ve got a team of really experienced business development managers who know the market really well and well networked into the local business communities, and we can introduce you to the right contacts and to new opportunities to really build your business in Japan.

So when exporting to Japan, keep in mind that it’s not just about Tokyo, there are some really viable regional economies to explore as well. I’m based in the Osaka office and the Kansai area around Osaka is a really strong economy. In fact it’s roughly the same size as the economy of South Korea, so it’s worthwhile looking for opportunities in the regional areas of Japan as well.