Governor Bentley to lead economic development mission to Japan -, GA News Weather & Sports

Governor Bentley to lead economic development mission to Japan

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Photo credit: Office of Alabama Governor Photo credit: Office of Alabama Governor

Governor Robert Bentley announced in a press release on Friday, Nov. 8, that he will be traveling to Japan on a mission to recruit more jobs to Alabama by strengthening relationships with Japanese companies that already have facilities in the state.

"My number-one priority is bringing more jobs to Alabama, and this economic development mission will help us do just that," says Bentley. "The State of Alabama enjoys a strong business relationship with several companies that are based in Japan."

According to the Alabama Department of Commerce, more than 60 Japanese companies already have operations in the state.  Japan is also one of the top five destinations for Alabama-made products, with exports valued at more than $795 million in 2012.  Chemicals, minerals, vehicles and metals are among the primary Alabama products shipped to Japan.

The Governor, along with Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield, and the Department of Commerce's Asian business development expert Hollie Pegg, will spend a week meeting with Japanese trade officials, biotech industry representatives and key executives at Toyota, Honda and other companies with operations in Alabama.

The meetings with top executives at Toyota and Honda come as the two global automakers continue to expand their Alabama operations. 

Toyota is in the midst of a $150-million expansion of its Huntsville engine plant, the only location in the world where the automaker produces four-cylinder, V6 and V8 engines.  By 2015, Toyota's investment in Alabama will total $850 million.

Honda this spring launched mass production of its 2014 Acura MDX sport utility vehicle at its Lincoln plant, the first time the automaker has assembled a vehicle from its luxury line in the state.  Over the past two years, Honda has announced investments totaling $400 million in Alabama.

In addition to meetings with the automakers, the Alabama team will meet with leaders of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), a government-related agency that works to promote trade and investment.  They are also scheduled to tour biomedical facilities, and meet with executives from a Japanese pharmaceutical company, a chemical maker and an auto supplier.

The team is scheduled to leave Sunday, Nov. 10, and return Friday, Nov. 15. This will be Governor Bentley's first official visit to Japan.

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