March 7-10, 2017
At the 11th hour, with the federal budget crisis finally handled and the 16-day federal government shutdown ended, DBEDT and it’s partner, the Hawaii Pacific Export Council, were able to go on with the Japan Market Briefing as planned. The event had already been postponed once due to the shutdown.
Hawaii companies who previously participated in the JFW International Fashion Fair and the Tokyo International Gift Show, as well as other companies interested in the Japan market, attended the Japan Market Briefing with guest speaker Aaron Held, Commercial Attache at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Mr. Held spoke directly to the interests of those companies, as he provided a separate industry analysis for apparel & accessories, body products, gift products, and value-added food products. Regardless of the industry, however, Mr. Held shared two important facts about Japanese consumers: 1) quality is very important; and 2) they are interested in the story behind a product.
Mr. Held advised companies to spend time developing relationships with their potential business partners and really getting to know them to see if there is a good fit. He also stated that Japanese companies really pay attention to which companies are doing business with whom, and this could affect business relationships down the line. For instance, if a company selects a Japanese distributor but is unhappy with the distributor’s performance, it may be difficult for the company to find a new distributor because the other Japanese distribution companies will be aware of the situation and hesitant to do business with this company.
The U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide serve as a great resource for Hawaii companies desiring to sell their products and services in other countries. For companies interested in the Japan market, visit the business section of the U.S. Embassy Japan Website which contains a wealth of market and trade information. Companies in the apparel and accessories industry should consult with the U.S. Consulate in Osaka, as they specialize in this industry with it being concentrated in the Osaka-Kansai area. Companies can also visit export.gov for information on exporting to any country in the world.
This event is part of the Hawaii State Trade Expansion Program (HiSTEP), which is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Live audio streaming of the event was provided by ThinkTech Hawaii.