- At the Business Leader Summit , the President, Iñigo Urkullu, presented a Basque Country made up of “serious, hard-working people who speak their mind”, with an ancient culture that loves the avant-garde and has industry inscribed in its DNA.
The Euskadi-Japan mission prioritised business-related topics in order to position the capabilities of the Basque industry in the Japanese market. Iñigo Urkullu Renteria, the president of the Basque Government, led the institutional and business delegation, which included about thirty industrial companies and technology hubs, most of which were in the energy industry.
The President and the Minister of Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment, Arantxa Tapia, held a working meeting at the commercial headquarters of BTI in Tokyo, together with the Basque companies that have been present in Japan for several days. After this meeting, the public-private delegation — Basque Government and companies — attended the Business Leader Summit, organised by the Basque Trade and Investment office in Japan, which was also attended by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan and local companies with interest in the Basque Country, as well as relevant and influential agents in the business network such as Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) (the equivalent of BTI in the Basque Country) and Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI).
The Business Leader Summit has served to “sell” the technological and industrial capabilities of the Basque Country, especially in the fields of energy and automotive, as well as to present some examples of successful business collaboration between the Basque Country and Japan.
Acknowledgement of the President who emphasises a Basque Country “with people of their word”
The day was inaugurated by the President, Iñigo Urkullu, who spoke of a Basque Country made up of “serious, hard-working people, who speak their mind”, with an ancient culture that loves the avant-garde, and which has industry inscribed in its DNA.
Japan is a country that “has exceeded all our expectations,” he said, and he is confident that relations can be generated between companies and entities in both countries. “We are a reliable partner” he concluded and thanked the Japanese and Basque companies and institutions present at the event for their collaboration and support.
Basque tractor and supplier companies in the industrial value chain
The value chain of the Basque industry has shown its full potential. This was done by José Oriol Hoyos, Chairman of the Board of Directors, of IBERDROLA Renovables Internacional; Oscar Goitia, President, Mondragón Internacional and José Ignacio Zudaire, Deputy to the Chief Executive Officer, Secretary and Director, Petronor, who agreed in recognizing the added value of SMEs in the sector and the existence of a local network of suppliers, capable of contributing added value and attractiveness to the industrial development of Japan, especially in the automotive and energy sectors.
Strategic alliances between Japanese and Basque companies
Likewise, successful cases of existing alliances between Japanese and Basque companies have been presented as inspiring cases for new future collaborations between companies from both countries. Among them were Takeshi Narui, Project Manager at MITSUI-Gestamp; Miguel Figueras, Founder and President, CODEX and representative of Euskal Forging in Japan; Kei Shimoda, Sales Department Manager at SHIMODA Iron Works.
“The Basque Country, land of innovation”, an attractive country for investment and business
The Basque Country has become known as “the land of innovation”. A country that is at the forefront of competitiveness and innovation, and where it is attractive to work, invest and, above all, to live in. An industrial country characterised by the technical capacity of its companies and the confidence they generate.
R&D&I expenditure of 2.2% of GDP, the weight of manufacturing and industrial services (40% of GDP), and a per capita GDP above the European average were some of the indicators referred to and which aroused the interest of the local audience present.
The challenge of attracting people to Basque companies
As explained by the Minister of Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment, Arantxa Tapia, the development and attraction of talent is today one of the priorities of the Basque Government. As in almost all European Union countries with ageing societies, there is a growing need for development to not only fill jobs, but to support the growth and development of our companies.
Japanese professionals working in Basque companies, Tatsuya Iwasaki (Iwasaki Restaurant); Terunori Kaihara (CIC nanoGune); Kenji Muro (Vicomtech); Takashi Kuroiwa (Nippon Gases) and Tomohiro Mashita (OSG Corporation) all explained the reasons why they work and live in the Basque Country. Five professionals who act as ambassadors explaining the capabilities and opportunities of Euskadi for their workers in Euskadi and highlighting its quality of life and culture.