February 28

2020

Business opportunities in Japan for Czech companies

The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) entered into force just over a year ago, and has both strengthened existing business opportunities for Czech and Japanese businesses and created new ones.

On 28 February, a seminar entitled, Business opportunities in Japan for Czech companies - Impact of EU-Japan EPA / Digital Innovation, reviewed the impact the EPA and digital innovation are having on Czech-Japan business links.

This event was co-organised by JETRO Czech Republic and the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation, with the support of the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic (MIT), the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Crafts CZ (AMSP), the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic and CzechInvest.

Even before the EPA was in place, Japan was the Czech Republic's 7th biggest trading partner outside the EU: 969 Czech companies were exporting to Japan (37% of them were SMEs), 257 Japanese companies were operating in the Czech Republic and more than 18,000 Czech jobs were linked to Japan. Exports to Japan were worth €687m and imports from Japan were worth €1.5 bn. The EPA is strengthening those ties and the digital economy is an important growth area for Czech-Japan business.

For the event report, click here. For the profile of the speakers, click here. To download the agenda, click here.

The main conclusions from the discussions were:

  • Czech businesses are largely unaware of the business opportunities available to them in Japan.
  • There needs to be a concerted awareness-raising exercise designed to:
    • Overcome a perception that Japan is an 'exotic market';
    • Explain tariff and other changes introduced by the EU-Japan EPA; and,
    • Highlight success stories, sources of information and practical help.
  • To succeed in Japan, companies need to promote their product or service in the same way that a Japanese competitor would. Recruiting local staff or working with reliable partners can be an effective strategy.
  • Japanese customers are largely loyal, so once a company has built a positive image and become trusted it can grow its business.
  • The IT sector is a promising sector with good opportunities for Czech tech companies looking to Japan.

 

Meeting agenda and presentations

Welcome address
Ms Reiko Kimura, Director General of JETRO Czech Republic
Opening addresses
  • Mr. Shimazaki Kaoru, Japanese Ambassador to the Czech Republic
  • Mr. Zbyněk Pokorný, Deputy of Deputy Minister for Digitalization and Innovations and Director of the Department for Investments and Industrial zones, MIT
Overview of the first year of the EU-Japan EPA and business opportunities for Czech companies
Mr. Marco Chirullo, Deputy Head of the Far East Unit, DG Trade, EU Commission
EU-Japan EPA: trends, FAQ and support measures for EU companies
Ms Aiko Higuchi, Director - European Office, EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation
EU-Japan EPA from perspective of Czech SMEs - expectations and opportunities
Mr. Evžen Reitschläger, Vice Chairman of AMSP
ICT / Digital innovation market in Japan
Mr. Marc Einstein, ICT expert of ITR Corporation (Japan)
Insights from Business Experience in Japan
Mr. Tomáš Janů, Director - Go Local, AVAST

For more information

Should you have any questions about the event please contact Mikulas_Kotrba@jetro.go.jp.

Sources of information on the EPA and Czech-Japan ties

Event organisers and partners

Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic

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