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Welsh Food and Drink Trade Delegation to Tokyo Aims to Strengthen Export Links

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Welsh food and drink producers will aim to strengthen and build ties with prospective partners and investors as they visit Tokyo, Japan this week.

As part of the Welsh Government’s Food and Drink Wales Trade Development Visit to Tokyo from 16-21 June, five food and drink companies from Wales will be given the opportunity to showcase their products to a host of distributors and retail buyers, all looking to secure new business. The Welsh companies taking part include Aber Falls Distillery Ltd, Gower Brewery Company Ltd, Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales, Purple Moose Brewery Ltd and Welsh Lady Preserves.

The first time that the Welsh Government has taken a food and drink focused Trade Development Visit to Japan. The timing is perfect. Japan are hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup from 20 September to 2 November, followed by the Olympics in 2020 meaning that there will be great interest in Wales and Welsh food and drink, with importers actively looking for Welsh Products.

The focus on Wales is particularly high given the Welsh Rugby team’s position as number 2 in the world following the Six Nations Grand Slam win. There is growing appetite in Japan to discover more about Wales, It’s also a busy year for Welsh food in Japan. The first ever commercial export of Welsh lamb arrived in Tokyo earlier this month following the beef and lamb import ban being lifted by Prime Minister Abe earlier this year.

The Welsh Government is working with Japanese media outlets as well as department stores and hotels in the host cities for Wales’ World Cup games on events to promote Welsh food and drink during the World Cup.

The aim of the Trade Development Visit is to leverage networking and collaboration opportunities between the producers, Welsh Government and Japan as well as strengthen business, trade and tourism relationships.

Speaking ahead of the visit, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said:

“This trade visit to Tokyo provides a great opportunity for Welsh food and drink producers seeking to build new contacts in overseas markets. With the Rugby World Cup being held in Japan later this year and the Olympics next year, this presents an exciting opportunity for Welsh food and drink exporters to present their products to importers from around the world and put Wales on the map.

“As we prepare to leave the European Union we are determined to support Welsh exporters and give them all the help they need, so they can continue to thrive and boost the Welsh economy.”

During the visit delegates will have an opportunity to take part in bespoke programme of store tours, an in-market briefing networking event, a meeting schedule with retail, food service buyers, distributors and importers and a trade networking reception at the Ambassador’s Residence.

James Wright, Managing Director of Aber Falls Distillery is one delegate attending the Welsh Government’s Trade Development Visit for the first time and is very much looking forward

“When we launched Aber Falls, we knew that export was a vital part of our business plan as the brand’s unrivalled credentials also open up a wide number of potential markets around the world. For this reason, the trip to Tokyo is a fantastic opportunity to promote our products, strengthen relationships and look at opportunities for exporters in the UK.

“Securing new and maintaining current export markets is crucial to our ambition for 2019 and beyond, so we can continue growing Aber Falls’ footprint,”

commented Wright.

Another company embarking on the Trade Development Visit is Welsh Lady Preserves, the largest producer of sweet preserves and savoury condiments in Wales.

Carol Jones of Welsh Lady Preserves sees this trade visit as a perfect opportunity to develop her relationship with the Japanese market further,

“When I read the offer to attend the Food and Drink Trade Development Visit to Tokyo, Japan, I knew immediately that I had to go. Welsh Lady has for many years had a close relationship with Japan and we have some loyal fans over there, in particular of our Remon Curdo!

“The Japanese people show great respect towards Wales. They know Wales, as many Japanese have been students here. They appreciate that we have a language and a colourful culture that is unique; they appreciate that we have a history and traditions, which they value. They also share our passion for rugby!

“By going to Japan I am hopeful that I will be able to promote Wales as a producer of brilliant, quality food. I want to introduce my range of jams, curds and chutneys to a wider market. In Japan, there is a growing interest in food that has provenance; this visit provides an opportunity for buyers and importers in Japan to hear first-hand from Welsh food producers how we do what we do, and through this, be encouraged to place more food from Wales in their stores and restaurants.”

Unlocking new markets brings even greater opportunities for Welsh food and drink businesses to not only showcase the quality produce around the world, but also generate more revenue and increase profits. With Wales’ reputation and provenance, there is a strong platform for further growth that will benefit everyone.

Japan has a population of 127 million, and is one of the wealthiest and more mature consumer markets in the world. Food and beverage is the largest expenditure for Japanese households and the country heavily relies on food imports to satisfy consumer demand. Eating out is extremely popular in Japan.

The Welsh Government’s Trade Development Visit to Tokyo, Japan takes place 16-21 June 2019