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22.10.2008 Business & Finance

Ghanaian Exporters asked to pay attention to quality of products

By gna

Mr. Kensaku Shikama, Trade Commissioner Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), has asked Ghanaian entrepreneurs seeking to export to the Japanese market to pay attention to safety and quality concerns.

He said health was a major concern to the Japanese and any sense of danger would lead to a boycott of products deemed unfit.

Mr Kensaku was speaking at a seminar for Ghanaian exporters organised by the Ghana Investment and Promotion Centre on how they could access the Japanese market.

According to him, the Japanese market was difficult to penetrate and exporters needed to pay attention to quality packaging, detailed labelling of products and a deep knowledge of the market.

Besides it is important that exporters know the market and understand its strict requirement and establish good relationship with Japanese companies.

In May 2006, Japan introduced Positive List system, which severely reduced the level of chemical pesticide residue in food permitted onto that country's market.

The introduction of the system has led to the discovery of cases of high chemical residue in food imports and many Japanese companies are now looking forward for other sources to import into the Japanese market.

Mr Kensaku said Ghana stood a distinct chance of exporting products that were unique to her and mentioned the unique advantage in the export of shea butter and shea product, since the product is peculiar to the region.

He said because Japan imported goods and food product from surrounding countries Ghanaian exporters could compete in original foods unique to Ghana, as well as products with international quality standard certification such as HACCP and fair trade among others.

Trade relations between Ghana and Japan have been improving over recent years. The value of Japanese exports to Ghana rose from $96.7 million in 2006 to $113.61 million in 2007, representing a 25.2 percent rise, which Japanese imports from Ghana in 2007 recorded a 56.8 $125.04 million.

The main Japanese exports to Ghana include motor vehicles, tires, construction machineries, cement and motor cycles, while imports from Ghana comprise cocoa beans, other cocoa products such as paste and butter and manganese ore, among others.

JETRO has, since opening an office in Ghana in 2003, been involved with Ghanaian exporter seeking to enhance access of potential Ghanaian products into Japan.

It provides guidance on product improvement; and support for Ghanaian firms in entering Japanese market, among others.