This Tuesday, September 27th, the Japan-Spain Business Circle (CEJE), has held an event in the format of a round table, with the collaboration of the Institut Químic de Sarria, in the auditorium of the university, under the theme “The export of the Spanish chemical sector in Japan“. This event, which had the presence of both institutions and exporting companies to Japan, was organized with the purpose of analyzing the presence of companies in the sector in Japan.
The event began with the welcome by Dr. Salvador Borrós, General Director of IQS, to the participants and guests. Dr. Borrós highlighted the importance of organizing conferences like this and commented that “doing this event today recognizes all the effort that IQS is making in working in the economy of this area.“
The moderation of the event was carried out by Dr. Carlos Moslares, Dean of the IQS School of Management, who began the session by asking all the speakers about the overview of the Spanish chemical-pharmaceutical market and about the present of this market in Japan.
The first intervention was by Mr. Jorge Lasheras, President of CEJE, who began by thanking the participants and IQS for their collaboration to make the event possible. Mr. Lasheras presented some figures on the current situation of Spanish exports, which have doubled in the last ten years, with some 3100 companies qualified as regular exporters. In this growth, 12.6% of Spanish exports to Japan are pharmaceutical, a sector surpassed by the meat and automotive sector. These data opened the business debate, guided by the questions of Dr. Moslares, who posed the question of what the successful strategy was to enter the Japanese market and the future prospects.
The first to offer his vision in this regard was Mr. David Perdigo, CEO of Noucor, placing great emphasis on the difficulty of entering this market for the first time, a difficulty which Noucor, at that time Uriach, faced when experiencing it in 2011 after an unfruitful strategic trip to Japan. For Mr. Perdigo, the main learning of this first trip was in their mistake of not being accompanied by a Japanese interlocutor. The factor of finding a good local interlocutor, which was also highlighted by the rest of the business speakers, has been key in the success of the companies present at the round table.
Mr. Gonzalo Andreu, Sales Account Manager of Indukern, added that, for his company, the experience was similar. Thanks to finding a local partner, Indukern was able to enter the Japanese market and, 10 years later, they still see it as a crucial strategic point in their company. The lesson shared by both participants was this: “the strategy is not based on going to Japan, it’s based on finding the right partner.“
The CEOs of Plimon Global and Reig Jofre, Mr. Juan Carlos Lascorz and Mr. Ignasi Biosca, reiterated the importance of the established learnings, and explained the development of their companies’ presence in Japan. Mr. Juan Carlos Lascorz reiterated this by explaining his company’s experience, expressing how crucial it was to “seek continuity and study the supplier well.” Mr. Biosca added a very important factor: the Japanese market is one in which you must take immense care of the details and, consequently, the relations of foreign companies with Japanese companies “are a relationship that is based on the demand by both parties“.
At this time, Mr. Moslares gave the floor to the institutional representatives, asking for their point of view in the task of accompanying the companies that needed of their experience throughout the learning process. Ms. Cristina Serradell, Director of Internationalization of ACCIO, highlighted the presence of ACCIO in Japan, where they have been present since 1989 with one of their largest and longest-lived international offices since Catalonia represents 31% of total Spanish exports to Japan. She also took this opportunity to further underline the importance of a good understanding of the country’s culture and way of negotiating to thrive in it, establishing that that is where ACCIO can help.
Mr. José Ignacio Pradas, territorial director of trade of ICEX of Catalonia, took the opportunity to mention two ICEX instruments available for the purpose described by Ms. Serradell: ICEX NEXT, which supports internationalization in terms of expenses associated with administrative authorizations, and Industrial Technological Cooperation.
After these interventions, the speakers talked about the topics covered, also adding the factor of the special Japanese regulations, especially in a sector as strict as the chemical pharmaceutical one. Finally, the audience was able to ask questions to the speakers, where topics such as the prospects of an economic recession, or the costs of production in Japan were touched.
Finally, both the speakers and the guests were able to enjoy a networking drink at the IQS facilities in which they could continue talking about the various topics covered by the speakers.