Trade tips from Adam Cunneen, Victorian Commissioner to Japan & Korea

Please note: Images in this article were taken before current COVID-19 safety measures were in place.

Adam Cunneen, Victoria’s Commissioner to Japan and Korea, recently shared how local businesses can best engage with the two countries. Here, Adam reveals his top advice when seeking to trade and invest within such diverse markets.

Adam’s advice for Victorian businesses seeking to trade and invest with Japan and Korea

Potrait shot of Adam CunneenTip 1: Remember that compared to China, engagement with Japan and Korea takes longer and is less transactional

"Japan and Korea require a commitment to a continuum of engagement over time. This means being prepared to work through thorough due diligence before the Japanese make a commitment. In recent years, this process has been truncated somewhat, but it’s still more onerous than in other markets. The Japanese are looking for a 20-year relationship – so they take time to make sure it’s right. The benefit is the relationship will be more durable through the ups-and-downs of trade and investment."

Tip 2: Come to market regularly

"Not once every two years, but multiple times each year to keep the dialogue and relationship healthy with your Japanese and Korean partners. Yes, this is high touch, but the relationship is often as important as the bottom line."

Tip 3: Invite Japanese/Korean customers/targets to Victoria at the earliest opportunity

"Seeing is believing – and you’ll have a chance to cultivate a ‘champion’ for yourself in your Japanese/Korean partner’s organisation."

Tip 4: Seek help from the Victorian Government Trade and Investment office and other network resources in market, such as Austrade and business chambers such as Austcham in Korea and ANZJCC in Japan.

"Both the Japanese and Korean markets are difficult to enter – you need a ‘network sherpa’ to help you get started!"

Delve deeper

Watch the video from Trade Victoria about Victoria's relationship with Japan.

Tokyo culture fix

If you’re touching down in Tokyo anytime soon and want to soak up some of the culture, Adam suggests you:  

  • Stop for a caffeine fix in the Ginza. Go for a drink in Corridor Street under the train tracks at Shimbashi - "Open late most days, it’s a good place to unwind after a day of fairly formal meetings."
  • Pop into the anime-inspired Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku - "Something you will definitely only see in Japan."
  • Treat yourself to "real Japanese food" at Gonpachi restaurant in Nishi Azabu, which featured in the movie Kill Bill. It’s where Adam often takes first-time visitors to Tokyo.

Photo credit (top main picture): Perati Komson /