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Joint Team for Promoting Exports of Agricultural, Forestry and Fishery Products and Foods Determines Their Future Efforts

September 11, 2018

On September 11, 2018, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) held the second meeting of the Joint Team for Promoting Exports of Agricultural, Forestry and Fishery Products and Foods, and determined four efforts that it will advance: [ⅰ] enhancement of business matching function to meet local demands in overseas countries; [ⅱ] enhancement of efforts for cultivating sales channels taking advantage of e-commerce (EC); [ⅲ] formulation of a guidebook for export support measures; and [ⅳ] distributing information of best practices in terms of collaboration efforts to the Regional Agricultural Administration Offices and the Regional Bureaus of Economy, Trade and Industry.

1. Enhancement of business matching function to meet local demands in overseas countries

MAFF has been encouraging export companies, producers and manufacturers, which are engaged in domestic agricultural, forestry and fishery products and foods, to take advantage of business matching opportunities. MAFF has been holding interviews with 109 export companies on whether or not they are actively searching for producers or manufacturers to provide products that can meet the demands of overseas markets and distributing information on the results of such interviews to the Regional Agricultural Administration Offices across Japan and business associations engaged in the promotion of exports. For that last 20 months, MAFF successfully provided information on local demands in overseas countries to producers or manufacturers in 279 cases.

In parallel with this, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) has been supporting export-related business matching by providing information on local demands in overseas markets to food-related businesses in Japan.

The joint team will integrate these respective efforts for business matching and will also distribute information on local demands in overseas markets to the Regional Bureaus of Economy, Trade and Industry; regional branch offices under METI; the Organization for Small & Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation, JAPAN (SME Support, JAPAN); and will convey such information to a broader range of producers and manufacturers. Through these efforts, the joint team will aim to increase the number of successful business matching cases.

2. Enhancement of efforts for cultivating sales channels taking advantage of EC

The EC industry in overseas markets is an ever-increasing channel for export and sales of Japanese agricultural, forestry and fishery products and foods. Some businesses in the industry directly buy products from producers or manufacturers in Japan and sell and export them. To address this situation, the joint team will enhance business matching between Japanese producers and manufacturers and overseas EC businesses looking for new products. Specifically, JETRO established a new online shop called “Japan Mall” on an overseas EC website and has been buying Japanese foods in Japan and selling them to consumers overseas. Through the MAFF and METI networks, the joint team will provide information on a call for applicants that intend to participate in JETRO’s efforts targeting producers and manufacturers. Moreover, SME Support, JAPAN, will open an EC website tentatively called “Rin ++,” and has been calling attention to processed foods (e.g., sake and green tea), and will hold a new event called “EC Camp 2018” as an opportunity for business matching between EC businesses and SMEs seeking to cultivate new sales channels by taking advantage of EC. The joint team will provide information on these efforts by SME Support, JAPAN, to SMEs and other entities, taking advantage of the ministries’ networks.

Furthermore, the joint team will expand its information-providing efforts collaboration to other EC businesses, including WASHOKU Treasure, J’s Agri, EVERYTHING FROM JP, JapanPage and JAPAN POINT.

3. Formulation of a guidebook for export support measures

The joint team will launch a website of all export-promoting support measures provided by METI and MAFF to help the public find relevant information with ease. In addition, taking advantage of nationwide meetings held by the Regional Agricultural Administration Offices and the Regional Bureaus of Economy, Trade and Industry, the joint team will distribute and explain the guidebook to the public and will encourage the offices and bureaus to collaborate in proactively visiting businesses that are interested in exports and encouraging them to utilize the available support measures.

4. Distributing information of best collaboration practices between the Regional Agricultural Administration Offices and the Regional Bureaus of Economy, Trade and Industry

The joint team will encourage the Regional Agricultural Administration Offices and the Regional Bureaus of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI regional bureaus) to enhance collaborative efforts for advancing exports of Japanese agricultural, forestry and fishery products and foods. Following this effort, the joint team will make a report of the best collaborative practices, and will distribute the report to the Regional Agricultural Administration Offices and METI regional bureaus across Japan, thereby encouraging the offices and bureaus to follow such practices in advancing collaboration efforts.

Division in Charge

Trade Promotion Division, Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau