Exporting to Japan – some tips and links to help you
Japan has made a name for itself as a nation of quality and innovation and consumers are drawn to premium, high-end goods.
Australia has a free Trade Agreement with Japan, so some commodities are duty free, whilst some are subject to some duties and restrictions – notably wine and spirits and foodstuffs, that will eventually be free.
Japan has some other free trade agreements that may affect goods or services you want to export to Japan.
If your documents are not in order, it is very likely your goods wont be loaded in the first place, but if they were, they certainly would NOT be allowed entry, and all of the costs for compliance are for the account of the exporter.
Japan has high risk controls on all imports, so it is imperative that you follow all documentation requirements. Regulatory barriers, including licensing requirements, restricted goods, certifications, labeling requirements, and more besides – check and check again.
Japan also has high risk controls on outside packaging. You should check with your buyer as to what is and isn’t allowed. For example, normal wooden pallets are not allowed, whereas these could be used for domestic transport.
Tariffs on most imported goods into Japan are relatively low. However, cultural, regulatory, and other non-tariff barriers to market entry continue to exist. The following is a non-exhaustive list of some barriers companies may encounter:
- Japan-specific standards and testing requirements
- Import license requirements
- Restricted or prohibited imports
- Temporary entry of goods
- Labelling requirements
- Long term local partner/distributor relationship issues and expectations
- High context business relationships and procedures
- Inability to communicate in English
- High expectations for quality and customer service
- High cost for entry due to size of economy
Several other ports and cities across Japan are serviced for FCL (full container load) cargoes, but LCL (less than a container load) cargo is consolidated into containers in Australia and can be shipped to the destination by any number of routes.
There are daily flights from Australia to Tokyo and Osaka and cargo can be sent on direct flights at premium rates, or held for consolidation.
If you are not a regular established exporter to Japan, then you should thoroughly check all requirements and shipping routes before proceeding.