Japan has become a strong partner of the Basque Country in high-tech products. This also happened at a time when there was a general decrease in exports due to the fall in energy products, marked by a slowdown in demand received by Petronor. And the major European economies, in turn important markets for the Basque Country, will buy less because of the cooling that their economies have undergone. August was the fifth consecutive negative month for Basque exports.
Against this backdrop, the development of both sales and purchases of Basque companies from Japan stands out. Japan’s exports started to improve since 2015, with a peak in 2016 due to strong car sales. After that, the increases are more moderate, except for 2023, when it grows strongly again. Therefore, between January and August of this year, Euskadi exported products worth 143 million euros to the country of Japan – 43 million euros more than all in 2022. According to the data, exports grew by 43% in the last five years – in 2018, the amount is 67 million euros.
However, Japan’s trade balance has historically been negative for Euskadi. And imports are higher than exports. Therefore, between January and August of this year, the Basque Country imported Japanese products worth 189.89 million euros -23 million more than last year.
There are two items that account for more than 70% of exports: motor vehicles and steel. In the background are chemical products and industrial machinery and telecommunications equipment. According to Spri, a total of 376 Basque companies regularly export to Japan. In the case of imports, there are three items that account for more than 50% of this section: iron and steel foundries, nuclear reactors and motor vehicles. In the background is industrial machinery and telecommunications equipment.
Japan is one of the leading exporters of vehicles, machinery, electronics and robotics. Traditionally, Japan has not been an open economy, although that seems to be changing now. The sum of exports and imports of goods absorbed 31% of GDP in 2020, which is still not a high rate – in the case of the State of Spain it is 67%. The value of its exports is about 750,000 million euros. Its main trading partners are China and the United States.
Since 2019, Japan has an economic association agreement with the European Union, which virtually eliminates tariffs on imports of European products and vice versa. According to Spri, “Euskadi exports below its potential, according to recent studies, while it seems that, since the signing of the agreement with the EU, Japanese companies are making the most of this reducing the barriers between the two markets. .” “The opportunities it presents can happen through exports and through local investment or collaboration agreements,” Spri emphasized, also warning “This is a country with high costs.”
During his recent visit to Japan, Lehendakari Iñigo Urkullu presented Euskadi to Japanese institutions and companies as a “serious, reliable and competitive partner.”
The Basque Internationalization Agency opened an office in Tokyo last year and has identified five strategic sectors as key for Basque companies: automotive, machine tools, renewable energy, ICT and medical devices. In the list of Euskadi’s trading partners, Japan is currently ranked 31st and has 14 Basque establishments, the majority in the automotive and advanced manufacturing sectors. l
Exports. Between January and August of this year, the Basque Country exported products worth 143 million euros to the country of Japan – 43 million euros more than all in 2022. According to the data, exports grew by 43% in the last five years – in 2018, the amount is 67 million euros. There are two items that account for more than 70% of exports: automobiles and aluminum and its manufactures. In the background are chemical products and industrial machinery.
Imports. Between January and August of this year, the Basque Country imported products to Japan worth 189.89 million euros -23 million more than last year. There are three things that account for more than 50% of this section: iron and steel foundries, nuclear reactors and automobiles.