Japan leverages trade fair to deepen ties with Nigeria

JETRO Lagos, Taku Miyazaki

The Japanese government, through the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), has expressed optimism of leveraging the forthcoming Lagos International Trade Fair to deepen trade ties between the country and Nigeria.

According to JETRO, the number of Japanese companies that have indicated strong interest in the Nigerian market‎ is on the rise, adding that the fair which commences on Friday, will feature 33 Japanese brands.

Addressing journalists in Lagos, Trade Commissioner and Managing Director of JETRO Lagos, Taku Miyazaki, said many Japanese companies are ready to make in-roads and expand their businesses in Nigeria as the nation recovers from economic recession.

Although trade volume between the two countries had been on the decline in the last two years, MiyaZaki expressed optimism of a turnaround at the end of 2017.

He said: “The recession was responsible for the decline in trade between Japan and Nigeria. 2015 and 2016 saw decrease in both import and export. For instance, in 2016, Nigeria’s import from Japan decreased by 9.0 per cent to $326.1 million, while her export declined by 70.0 per cent to $849.6 million”.

Although, Miyazaki attributed the decline to the continued lower gas price (for Japan’s import) and forex scarcity (Japan’s export), he said despite the decline, the number of Japanese affiliated companies in Nigeria increased by four in 2106.

“This shows nothing has changed on the huge potential of Nigeria and how strongly Japanese companies are eager to tap into this lucrative market,” Miyazaki said.

He listed Suntory Food and Beverage Nigeria as one of the four new Japanese companies, which will be bringing their locally produced soft drinks, ‘Lucozade’ and Ribena’ to the Japan Pavilion at the forthcoming trade fair.

He also announced that Honda Manufacturing (Nigeria), which has a long history of manufacturing motorcycles in Nigeria since 1979, will use this year’s trade fair as the first appearance of their new motorbike model “Ace 110”.

“Nigerians know our quality. But the challenge has always been comparatively higher price. So, we made our new model to be more affordable, which I would like many people to see at the trade fair”, he added.

Other exhibitors expected at the fair include Canon Central and North Africa, Brother International, CFAO Yamaha Motor Nigeria, Suzuki Motor, Koncept Autocentre(partner of Isuzu Motors), Massilia Motors (partner of Mitsubishi Motors), Sims Nigeria (partner of Panasonic Marketing & Services Nigeria), and R.T. Briscoe Nigeria (distributors of Toyota’s trucks, forklift, etc.).

The Trade Commissioner added that Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs) producing high quality products and companies with new type of businesses will also be participating in the fair.

He said, for instance, that Heiwa Foods Industry will be bringing their ‘Japanese Curry’ to Nigerians’ dinner tables, together with their Nigerian partner, Green Diamond.

Miyazaki also said cookpad, a cooking recipe sharing social media, which is one of the most popular cooking websites among Japanese people, has launched its Nigerian page in March. They are eager to promote the brand at the trade fair to fascinate Nigerians.

According to him, the activities of Japanese companies in Nigeria are contributing to Nigeruia’s economic development. “They create jobs, educate staff, transfer technology and share values of Japanese craftsmanship, which is the key agenda of the Federal Government and its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP)”, Miyazaki said.



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