Japan, one of the countries with the greatest export potential in the world, is beginning to fall for the charms of Malaga. Businesses in the province are accustomed to importing products from the land of the rising sun, but many are now increasing their exports, thanks to the increasing quality of the local agri-food sector. According to figures from ICEX, exports have doubled in the past ten years.
Last year, 145 businesses in Malaga sold products to Japan, and 34 have been doing so regularly (at least for the past four years). Despite the difficulties of the pandemic, companies in the province exported products worth 37.65 million euros, and imported others worth 31.53 million. That positive difference of 6.12 million euros would have been unimaginable ten years ago.
The data is even more positive when compared with 2019, the year before the Covid pandemic, when Malaga businesses exported 46.10 million euros worth of goods to Japan, and imported 24.85 million. Exports to Japan have been increasing steadily since 2011, when they amounted to just 10.55 million euros.
The provincial director of ICEX in Malaga, Rafael Fuentes, admits that the number of businesses explorting to Japan is still small (8,188) but is growing. “And this is a very demanding market, so it shows that companies here are well prepared for selling all over the world,” he points out.
The biggest exports include meat products and olive oil, although fish products are also increasing. In 2021, Malaga exported food, drink and tobacco worth 34.98 million euros, including fats and oils (18.79 million euros), and meat products (14.29 million).
At present, a Japan Cultural Week is currently under way in Malaga city, and one of the events organised was a meeting between executives from both countries to develop business opportunities. It was opened by the mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, and the Japanese ambassador to Spain, Kenji Hiramatsu. They both remarked on the opportunities in Japan and Spain for generating business and synergies, and the ambassador confirmed that economic relations between the two are significant and “progressing with a firm step”.