The 36th Annual Joint Meeting of the Southeast U.S. -- Japan and Japan/ U.S. Southeast Associations will be held Monday, Nov.18 at the Beau Rivage Resort in Biloxi, Miss.
Gov. Phil Bryant and invited state leaders from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee and Japanese officials will be in attendance. William Yates, president and CEO of Mississippi-based construction firm Yates Construction, and Atsutoshi Nishida, chairman of the board for Toshiba Corporation, are co-chairs of this year's event.
"The state of Mississippi has long enjoyed a strong working relationship with Japanese business leaders and officials. In fact, Japan is our state's largest supplier of direct foreign investment, and Mississippi's involvement in SEUS-Japan and the partnerships we have made through this great organization certainly contribute to that," Gov. Bryant said. "The state of Mississippi is honored to serve as host state of the 36th Annual SEUS-Japan Joint Meeting. We are pleased to welcome our counterparts from the organization's southeast U.S. member states, Japanese officials and business leaders to the Mississippi Gulf Coast for this occasion."
There are 37 major Japanese-owned companies in Mississippi, operating manufacturing and distribution facilities. Among the largest of those companies are Nissan, Toyota and the recently announced Yokohama Tire Corporation. Additionally, more than 100 retail operations and local service companies are doing business in the state on behalf of a wide variety of Japanese parent companies.
In 2012, Mississippi exported $213 million in products and services to Japan, a 52 percent increase over 2011. Last year, the state's top export commodities to Japan included medical and surgical instruments, mineral fuels and wood pulp, accounting for $71 million in trade.
During the 36th Annual SEUS-Japan Joint Meeting, business executives and government officials from the associations' eight southeast U.S. member states and Japan will have opportunities to strengthen existing business relationships and develop new ones, as well as discuss trade and investment opportunities.
"While the southeast U.S. and Japan are thousands of miles apart, the two regions share many of the same goals and the same innovative spirit," said Yates. "Innovation is critical to our economy, and this year's meeting, which is themed "Success through Harmony, Tradition and Innovation', is a great way to forge new viable, lasting relationships to strengthen our opportunities for success."
The Southeast U.S. -- Japan and Japan/U.S. Southeast Associations, collectively known as SEUS-Japan, were established in 1975. The annual joint meeting attracts more than 300 Japanese and southeastern U.S. business leaders, government officials and economic development professionals each year. The event promotes trade, investment, understanding and friendship between Japanese industrial members and the member states of the southeast U.S. For more information about the 36th Annual SEUS-Japan Joint Meeting, please visit www.seusjapan2013.org.