Gov. Gary R. Herbert is leading a trade mission to Japan later this week. Representatives from 22 of Utah’s leading companies and organizations will join him.
Japan was selected for its vast trade opportunities and stable economy. Organized by World Trade Center Utah and the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, international trade missions offer Utah companies ready to expand globally with unique and unprecedented access to business leaders and opportunities.
Japan boasts the world’s third-largest GDP, and trade between the United States and Japan is robust. As of 2017, U.S. investments in Japan were approximately $129.06 billion (U.S.). Additionally, Utah’s exports to Japan have had a five year 47 percent increase to $811 million in 2017, which shows Japan is a notable destination for Utah goods.
“The importance of international trade for Utah’s economy must not be underestimated,” said Gov. Herbert. “Trade is particularly critical when we consider our relationship with Japan, Hong Kong and other Asian regions. As we strengthen our trade ties with our international partners, we are indeed strengthening our own state.”
Offering a lucrative market for imported aircraft, aircraft parts and engines, U.S. firms have an overwhelming presence in Japan due to long-standing relationships with domestic manufacturers and trading firms. Additionally, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries/Aerospace (MHI Aerospace) is increasing its investments into the United States. Members of the delegation from the aerospace industry will meet with MHI Aerospace to discuss the rapid growth of Utah’s aerospace industry and opportunities for Utah aerospace companies to build commercial ties with Mitsubishi.
“Parallels between Utah and Japan’s thriving industries are abundant,” said Miles Hansen, president and CEO of World Trade Center Utah. “Aerospace, life sciences and energy are top priorities for both markets, and each excels at innovation in these areas.”
While in Japan, the governor-led delegation will meet with key investors, government officials, business leaders and trade associations to forge relationships and explore opportunities for Utah to expand its economic footprint in Asia and to attract more Japanese investment to Utah.
“Trade missions are a valuable economic development tool,” said Val Hale, executive director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “They provide a unique opportunity for Utah business leaders to meet and build relationships with leaders from around the globe. I’ve seen successful outcomes following each trade mission.”
Other members of the delegation, including Dr. Laura Nelson of the Governor’s Office of Energy Development, will meet with Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). In May of 2019, MHPS and Utah-based Magnum Development announced an initiative to launch the Advanced Clean Energy Storage project in central Utah—the world’s largest project of its kind. The project will incorporate 100 percent clean energy storage, deploying utility-scale technologies, which include renewable hydrogen, compressed air energy storage, large-scale flow batteries, and solid oxide fuel cells. During the meeting, the group will discuss ways to strengthen this partnership and expand Mitsubishi’s investments in Utah.
Before joining Gov. Herbert in Japan, Justin Harding, the governor’s Chief of Staff, and Val Hale, executive director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, will lead the Utah business delegation to Hong Kong. On this leg of the trade mission, the delegation will expand Utah’s trade and investment relationship with important businesses and institutions that make Hong Kong a global economic hub.
U.S. foreign direct investment in Hong Kong (stock) was $81.2 billion in 2017, a 17.8 percent increase from 2016. Additionally, Hong Kong has good purchasing power parity, coming in at $455.9 billion.
Hong Kong, having built its success on shipping, commerce and manufacturing, is the home of Modern Ports, the first one-stop e-business platform serving the Hong Kong shipping community, and one of the largest ports in Asia. On Sept. 16, the delegation will visit Modern Ports and meet with the chief commercial officer to discuss port business models, innovative sustainability solutions, the critical role of ports in global trade and the economic pressures that drive the necessity of inland ports, including the Utah Inland Port.
Continuing the discussion of global trade logistics, the delegation will also meet with Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), a Hong Kong-based container shipping and logistics service company that is one of the world’s largest shipping companies and has its North American headquarters in Utah.
With the support of World Trade Center Utah, the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Zions Bank, the U.S. Commercial Service, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Utah Governor’s Office of Energy Development, many private and public organizations from various industries will participate in the trade mission, including: