I recently had the wonderful opportunity of participating in an economic development trip to Japan with a delegation of approximately 40 representatives from South Carolina including the Governor and many leaders of agencies and organizations seeking Japanese investments in South Carolina.
Accompanying me on the trip were our county administrator Wayne Adams and economic development director Teresa Powers.
Of course Newberry County’s participation was aimed at recruiting investments for Newberry County.
One meeting occurred at the U.S. Embassy with personnel from the “Select U.S.A.” program; a program designed to garner foreign investments and reduce governmental impediments to these investments.
A recurring theme throughout our trip is that Japanese industry seems to be moving toward a significant growth phase in their foreign investment levels. A favorable monetary exchange rate and a much lower cost of energy make the United States a prime target for these investment dollars.
The Newberry delegation, the deputy director of the S.C. Dept of Commerce and several others met with Komatsu’s senior management at their international headquarters. The goal of this meeting was to thank Komatsu for their current investment in Newberry County and to establish a personal relationship to garner favor for any future expansions.
The Newberry delegation divided up on Thursday with Wayne Adams and Teresa Powers flying to Korea to spend the day with the management of Kisswire.
I remained in Japan to attend a meeting hosted by the S.C. Department of Commerce and the Governor’s office with representatives of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI). The JCCI representatives in this meeting made recommendations about how to most effectively recruit Japanese industrial investments and offered to be a distribution point for the recruitment efforts
The consistent message presented by the Governor and the S.C. Department of Commerce during this visit was, “We are open for business in South Carolina.”
Conversely our message to the Governor and her staff, the representatives from the S.C. Department of Commerce, members of various economic development alliances and the Japanese corporate attendees was that “Newberry County is eager for this business.”
Newberry County’s presence at this year’s Southeast U.S.-Japan Conference, along with the county’s personal visits to corporate leaders at Komatsu (Tokyo, Japan) and Kiswire (Seoul, South Korea), was likely the most effective industrial recruitment expenditure our county has made to date
Thank you for your interest and please contact me if you would like further details.