The Minister for Territory and Sustainability, Damià Calvet, and the Minister of Business and Knowledge, Àngels Chacón, participated today in an event in Tokyo entitled “Japan-Catalonia: New Business Opportunities”, which was attended by over a hundred Japanese companies and associations. The aim of the event, organised by the Port of Barcelona, was to foster trade relations with Catalonia.
During the meeting, Minister Calvet said the companies participating in the mission were determined to “grow and generate opportunities here in Japan and in Catalonia”. He added that the Catalan government shares the values of these companies and is “working tirelessly to improve the lives of citizens by creating a prosperous economy that generates more employment, greater wealth, and a better standard of living”.
At the same time, Calvet noted that in the context of the climate emergency, economic growth must be achieved “without jeopardising the lives of future generations”. The minister said: “We’re advancing towards a third industrial revolution in which all of us – economic sectors, public authorities and citizens – need to work together. We have to find ways to transition to a zero-carbon economy.” As an example, Calvet cited new measures to limit vehicle emissions in cities, which he said “will open up new opportunities for the Japanese electric and hybrid vehicle industry in Catalonia, Spain and Europe”.
The minister also talked about the modernisation agenda that the Ministry of Territory and Sustainability is pursuing in all its areas of competence, “On this mission, we’ll also look for new ideas to pursue this objective, and share our targets and our way of understanding the environment, safe and sustainable mobility, public transport, housing, logistics and biodiversity – always with the respect that the climatic emergency requires.”
According to Calvet, one of the Ministry’s priority objectives on this mission is to visit Ali Nippon Airways as part of an ongoing effort to establish a direct route between Barcelona and Tokyo, an initiative that is being pursued in collaboration with the Committee for the Development of Air Routes.
For her part, the Minister of Business and Knowledge, Àngels Chacón, said that the mission “should serve to strengthen economic ties between Catalonia and Japan, a country with which we share values, such as hard work, a significant tourism relationship, an industry-based economy, and growing trade links”. In a reference to the opening of ACCIÓ’s first Foreign Trade and Investment Office in Japan in 1988, Chacón said that Catalonia and Japan had been demonstrating for 30 years that they “speak the same language” when it comes to business.
The minister stressed that “Japan is one of Catalonia’s main trading partners outside the European Union”, noting that Catalan exports to the country have tripled in the last ten years, reaching a record €849 million in 2018, and that Catalonia accounts for 33.6% of Spain’s total sales to Japan. “More and more Catalan companies are pursuing business opportunities in Japan: 2600 Catalan companies are now exporting to the country, 60.7% more than 10 years ago.” Chacón said there was further potential to develop relations with Japan, including foreign investment, and that this was what the mission was intended to achieve. The Catalan delegation will conduct visits and participate in working meetings with companies in Kyoto, Tokyo and Yokohama, engaging with public representatives and firms in various sectors, including the car industry, video games, the chemical industry, life sciences and tourism.