Gov. Nathan Deal will lead Georgia's delegation at the 35th Annual Joint Meeting of the Japan-U.S. Southeast Association and the Southeast U.S./Japan Association, held Sept. 13-15 in Tokyo. The delegation consists primarily of state economic development officials who will explore business opportunities in Japan prior to attending the annual meeting. Deal will deliver remarks at the opening ceremony, joining leadership from other Southeastern states, Japanese dignitaries and global business leaders in attendance to celebrate shared partnerships with Japan. This mission marks the first visit to Japan by a Georgia governor in five years.
"Georgia shares a rich and longstanding cultural and business relationship with Japan carried out through our ongoing and active participation in the SEUS/Japan meeting," Deal said. "We look forward to using this business trip to express our gratitude to those companies already doing business in Georgia, and to explore enhanced economic development opportunities between our two regions."
Deal and members of the Georgia delegation will also take part in business meetings in Osaka and Tokyo prior to attending the SEUS/Japan annual meeting. The mission in its entirety is scheduled Sept. 7-15 and is the governor's fourth and final economic development trip of the year. The delegation will attend a reception in Osaka hosted by Columbus-based AFLAC and will attend a Coca-Cola-sponsored reception while in Tokyo. First Lady Sandra Deal will accompany the delegation and visit several schools and other youth-focused institutions in Osaka and Tokyo.
The SEUS/Japan Association was chartered in 1975 to promote trade, investment, understanding and friendship between Japan and U.S. member states that include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Georgia is a charter member of this alliance between Japan and the U.S. Southeastern states. This annual meeting typically attracts upwards of 500 government officials and top business leaders. The theme of this year's meeting is "In Harmony with Tradition and Innovation," and includes sessions focused on investment opportunities in the Southeast, supply chain and infrastructure, and innovation in business solutions.
Japan and Georgia share a productive business collaboration, including a robust trade relationship between the two regions. Total trade (imports and exports) between Georgia and Japan is $5.37 billion, ranking Japan as Georgia's sixth-largest global trade partner. In 2011, imports from Japan passed $4 billion for the first time in the history of the trade relationship between Georgia and Japan, making the country Georgia's fifth-largest import market. Primary imports from Japan include motor vehicle parts, heavy construction machinery, tractors and engines.
The state exports $1.22 billion in products to Japan, with top exports including aircraft, wood pulp, Kaolin, medical related instruments and pharmaceutical products. Georgia is also a national leader in the export of other goods to Japan, including wood pulp (1st), textiles and floor covering (1st), articles of stone plaster, cement and mica (2nd), and paper and paperboard (3rd).
Georgia has been fully engaged with the Japanese market since 1973, when the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) established its international office in Tokyo, which remains Georgia's oldest international office. This office promotes Georgia trade, investment and tourism opportunities in Japan.
"Missions like this one provide us with opportunities to truly market Georgia to the world as a great place for business," said GDEcD Commissioner Chris Cummiskey. "Japan is one of our most significant international business partners, so we hope to use this trip and our attendance at SEUS/Japan to underscore the importance of this bilateral relationship, and to determine new ways we can work together."
The annual joint meeting of the Southeast U.S./Japan and the Japan-U.S. Southeast Associations is held on a rotational basis in Japan and the Southeastern United States. Georgia is a co-host and joint organizer of the 35th annual meeting, in coordination with the state of Tennessee, which hosted the meeting in Nashville in 2010.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is the state's sales and marketing arm, the lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a destination for arts events and location for film, music and digital entertainment projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development. www.georgia.org