Japanese consul sees ‘many opportunities for trade and investment’ in Catalonia

Naohito Watanabe calls for political and economic stability

Naohito Watanabe, Japanese consul in Barcelona (by ACN)
Naohito Watanabe, Japanese consul in Barcelona (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

June 6, 2018 03:02 PM

Naohito Watanabe, the Japanese consul in Barcelona, called for “political and economic” stability in order to provide “the optimal environment for foreign investment.” He added that both Barcelona and Catalonia are already very well-known among Japanese companies. Watanabe sees “many opportunities for trade and investment” in Catalonia for Japanese companies, especially in Barcelona due to its “economic dynamism.”

Watanabe spoke at an event organized by Catalonia’s Employers Association (Foment del Treball Nacional), in Barcelona, focusing on the economic partnership agreement (EPA) reached between Japan and the European Union last December.

There are some 184 Japanese companies in Catalonia, according to the diplomat. One of the biggest ones, he said, is Rakuten: an electronic commerce company that became the Barcelona football team main sponsor in 2017.

Watanabe stressed the importance of football as a galvanizer of economic ties between Catalonia and Japan. Another example, he said, was the transfer of former Barcelona player Andrés Iniesta to Japan’s Vissel Kobe team. “It’s a very powerful message that he is playing there,” he assured, adding that this will attract Japanese companies and investors to Catalonia.