Iberian trade with Japan during WW2?

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driftwood
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Iberian trade with Japan during WW2?

Post by driftwood » 22 Jul 2020 16:12

I think Spain had lost all it's Asia-Pacific colonies by the time WW2 broke out, but I know Portugal still had Macao and Goa (Timor was another story since it was occupied during the war). Were either of the neutral Iberian countries (or their colonies) able to maintain trading links with Japan after December 7th 1941? If so, what sort of goods were being moved between them?

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Iberian trade with Japan during WW2?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 25 Jul 2020 10:31

It would have been impossible because of the British blockade.

Spain was hard enough pressed just trading across the Atlantic for vital wheat from Argentina, nitrates from Chile and oil from the Dutch West Indies. Some sugar also came from Cuba. There was also some fishing for cod off the Grand banks, but the British also restricted this in the middle war years. The British kept tight control of Spanish (and Portuguese) trade through the Navicert system.

Sid.

driftwood
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Re: Iberian trade with Japan during WW2?

Post by driftwood » 25 Jul 2020 11:23

Sid Guttridge wrote:
25 Jul 2020 10:31
It would have been impossible because of the British blockade.
I'm not sure I believe that. Afaik there was no effective Allied blockade of Portugal's Asian colonies. NaviCert was only really effective in the Europe/Atlantic region. So yes, goods probably would have had a hard time reaching Portugal or Spain, but regional trade between Portugal's Asian colonies (like Macao) and Japan would not have been impossible. I just don't know if it happened, which is why I posted this thread.

Macao was bombed by the USA in 1945 under suspicion that they were trying to sell aviation fuel to Japan. I don't know if any shipments got through though.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Iberian trade with Japan during WW2?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 25 Jul 2020 12:06

Hi driftwood.

Macao was attached to the Japanese-occupied Chinese mainland and had absolutely nothing to offer anyone. East Timor was occupied by the Japanese. Goa was dominated by British India. There were no other Portuguese possessions in Asia.

The only place Macao could get aviation fuel (which it did not itself need) was from the Japanese-occupied Dutch East Indies.

Sid.

driftwood
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Re: Iberian trade with Japan during WW2?

Post by driftwood » 25 Jul 2020 12:17

Japan had things that Macao needed though, like food. I believe that was one of the incentives for them trying to sell aviation fuel to the Japanese near the end of the war. Macao had a functioning banking system and a gold reserve, which could have been used to purchase supplies from Japan. Again though, I don't know if this was done. Hopefully someone familiar with local history there might be able to help us out.

Macao had stocks of aviation fuel stored at the Portuguese Naval Aviation Center in the Outer Harbor, which were targeted by US bombers. By 1945 the Portuguese had no use for this fuel, since its naval aircraft were effectively grounded. I think I also remember coming across a mention of the Portuguese proposing trading guns from their local colonial forces to the Japanese in exchange for rice, but I can't find the source to verify that. Maybe someone here knows?

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Iberian trade with Japan during WW2?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 25 Jul 2020 17:16

Hi driftwood?

Portugal stationed only four seaplane in Macao over 1940-42. Their fuel needs and reserves would have been minimal compared with Japanese requirements. A one-off transaction was possible after 1942, but hardly amounts to "Iberian trade with Japan during WWII."

Cheers,

Sid.

driftwood
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Re: Iberian trade with Japan during WW2?

Post by driftwood » 25 Jul 2020 21:35

Even if it was a one-off transaction, I still would like to hear about it.

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Ironmachine
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Re: Iberian trade with Japan during WW2?

Post by Ironmachine » 26 Jul 2020 07:16

AFAIK, there was no trade between Spain and Japan during WWII, and no Japanese blockade runner ever went to Spain. There were plans and negotiations during the war, but nothing was ever achieved.
On the other hand, it's not as if Spanish-Japanese trade was great even before the war. There was a very small trade between both countries even before the SCW, and the main products that were traded were of very limited use in case of war: Japan's main export product to Spain was silk, and Spain's main export good to Japan was wine!

driftwood
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Re: Iberian trade with Japan during WW2?

Post by driftwood » 26 Jul 2020 09:20

Ironmachine wrote:
26 Jul 2020 07:16
AFAIK, there was no trade between Spain and Japan during WWII, and no Japanese blockade runner ever went to Spain. There were plans and negotiations during the war, but nothing was ever achieved.
On the other hand, it's not as if Spanish-Japanese trade was great even before the war. There was a very small trade between both countries even before the SCW, and the main products that were traded were of very limited use in case of war: Japan's main export product to Spain was silk, and Spain's main export good to Japan was wine!
Wasn't Spain selling tungsten to the Germans during WW2? I know Japan was trying to get their hands on that stuff from China, so I guess that could have been a potential wartime trade commodity with Spain. But as Sid pointed out, it would have been tricky to move all the way from Europe to Japan...

What were these negotiations/plans for trade that were considered during the war? As far as goods to be traded or routes taken?

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Ironmachine
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Re: Iberian trade with Japan during WW2?

Post by Ironmachine » 26 Jul 2020 14:42

driftwood wrote:Wasn't Spain selling tungsten to the Germans during WW2? I know Japan was trying to get their hands on that stuff from China, so I guess that could have been a potential wartime trade commodity with Spain.
As Spain could potentially sell all its tungsten to Germany, there was really little incentive for the Spaniards. And for the Japanese, it would have been probably easier to buy the tungsten to the Germans than directly to Spain.
driftwood wrote:What were these negotiations/plans for trade that were considered during the war? As far as goods to be traded or routes taken?
There were some contacts between both countries to buy and sell various goods. None reached any fruitful conclusion, and AFAIK they were far from the stage of thinking about how to transport the materials.

Rob Stuart
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Re: Iberian trade with Japan during WW2?

Post by Rob Stuart » 26 Jul 2020 21:04

driftwood wrote:
26 Jul 2020 09:20
Ironmachine wrote:
26 Jul 2020 07:16
AFAIK, there was no trade between Spain and Japan during WWII, and no Japanese blockade runner ever went to Spain. There were plans and negotiations during the war, but nothing was ever achieved.
On the other hand, it's not as if Spanish-Japanese trade was great even before the war. There was a very small trade between both countries even before the SCW, and the main products that were traded were of very limited use in case of war: Japan's main export product to Spain was silk, and Spain's main export good to Japan was wine!
Wasn't Spain selling tungsten to the Germans during WW2? I know Japan was trying to get their hands on that stuff from China, so I guess that could have been a potential wartime trade commodity with Spain. But as Sid pointed out, it would have been tricky to move all the way from Europe to Japan... [...]
During the 1942-1943 blockade-running season 1,010 tons of tungsten ore was shipped from Japan to Europe, albeit only 180 tons arrived. (Source: Reluctant Allies, German-Japanese Naval Relations in World War II, by Hans-Joachim Krug, Yoichi Hirama, Axel Niestle and Berthold J. Sander-Nagashima, Naval Institute Press, 2001, p. 219.)

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