The Swiss export industry enjoys a head start in Japan. On the one hand, this is due to a long history of economic and trade relations. Some Swiss companies have been operating in Japan for more than 100 years. On the other, both countries have similarities in their economic development in some respects: For example: lack of commodities, great affinity for services and high tech, a culture of precision and service, quality, and dependability. Notwithstanding all of the cultural differences between the two countries, shared values are apparent in light of this, which in business relationships create a good basis of trust and, at the same time, inherently related objectives. All the more so since both countries are confronted with similar challenges (aging society, growing mobility, accelerated innovation cycles, use of alternative energies).
It therefore comes as no surprise that Japan and Switzerland are parties to a bilateral trade agreement (since 2009). It should be noted that no other European country is currently party to such an agreement with Japan. And, among global industrialized nations, other than Switzerland only Australia has signed a free trade agreement with Japan.
The benefits so far of the free trade agreement and the potential that it still has is also the topic at “Impulse: Swiss World in Japan”, in connection with a study of the University of Zurich on “Free Trade and Economic Partnership (FTEPA) with Japan” with the title “What’s in for Swiss Exporters?”. It is generally acknowledged that the free trade agreement has not yet entirely met the expectations associated with it. That may likely be related to the fact that in recent years, Japan has suffered a number of economic setbacks and at times slid into recession. As a consequence, the focus of the Swiss export economy has increasingly turned to China and the ASEAN countries. And somewhat away from Japan.
Economic prospects in Japan have since improved. According to initial estimates, economic output in 2015 rose by 0.8%. And in 2016, the target is a further increase in GDP growth.
Learn more about economic trends in Japan and the perspectives for Swiss export companies with destination Japan at “Impulse: Swiss World in Japan” from someone who knows what he’s talking about: Masashi Nakazono, Director General of JETRO Switzerland in Geneva (see also the interview with Masashi Nakazono). His remarks will be augmented on March 1 by Daisaku Yukita, Deputy Director General of JETRO London, who will dedicate his talk to business opportunities in advance of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
An excellent business guide for Swiss companies in Japan is “Swiss World in Japan”, published by JETRO and presented at “Impulse: Swiss World in Japan”. Koichi Oba, former CEO of Sika Japan, knows what it takes to succeed in Japan. At “Impulse: Swiss World in Japan”, he will be reporting from his wealth of experience, thus rounding out an event whose importance will be underscored not only for the Swiss export industry, but also for Japan by the participation and welcoming remarks of Japan’s ambassador to Switzerland, Ryuhei Maeda.