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Regional economic development leaders travel to Japan to strengthen economic bonds

October 09,2017 | By Adam Newman

The business development mission with regional public and private sector leaders shows our region’s commitment to working with our Japanese business partners.

Portland, Oregon – Greater Portland Inc (GPI) and Strategic Economic Development Corporation (SEDCOR) are joining a delegation led by Oregon Governor Kate Brown of more than 50 public and private sector leaders on a mission to Japan to strengthen the economic ties between Asia and the Portland - Salem metro region. During the mission, Oct. 9-13, GPI, SEDCOR, and economic development partners will meet with Japanese companies already doing business here and learn about how the Greater Portland region can meet the needs of businesses seeking to expand here.

Japan is a priority market for both the Greater Portland and Salem metro regions, and a major contributor to the state’s economy. There are more than 140 Japanese foreign-owned businesses operating in Greater Portland and the Salem metro and supported by economic development and business organizations from across the state. GPI will participate in business development meetings, seminars, site visits, and meet with U.S. Ambassador William Hagerty.

“Japan has and continues to present significant opportunity for Greater Portland both as a location for investment, as well as a natural market for trade,” said Janet LaBar, GPI president and CEO. “The affinity and values our markets share in sustainability, craftsmanship and quality, as well as proximity and easy connectivity, are competitive advantages we can offer.”

Also traveling with the delegation are GPI and SEDCOR’s economic development partners from Portland General Electric, the Port of Portland, Prosper Portland, City of Salem, City of Hillsboro, City of Beaverton and Business Oregon.

“This mission is a great opportunity for our economic development coalition to show the various assets of our region and our state,” said SEDCOR President Chad Freeman. “We know our collaborative effort will demonstrate that our region is organized and committed to encouraging new investment and opening conduits for trade.”

Japan has a long history of trade with and investment in Greater Portland. Shimadzu is celebrating 20 years of business building precision instruments in Canby, Oregon. Food giant Ajinomoto has continued to expand since first arriving in 2000 and recently formed a $20 million joint venture to produce frozen noodle products here for the U.S. market. And in 2015 the Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company acquired The Standard – a GPI investor and board member – for $5 billion in cash.

In Oregon’s Mid-Willamette Valley, SEDCOR has worked with IMEX America, a manufacturer of toners, and Yamasa Corporation USA, producers of soy sauce, for more than 20 years. In August, SEDCOR along with its private and public partners welcomed St. Cousair Oregon Orchards to Newberg after it acquired Berry Noir Co-Packing. With its headquarters in Nagano, Japan, St. Cousair Oregon Orchards produces gourmet foods and beverages.

Freeman said he looks forward to visiting with Japanese firms already invested in Oregon and meeting with new businesses to share why they should consider locating in Oregon.

“This is a terrific opportunity for our region and the state to work together to show our support and demonstrate our appreciation for their continued investment in our region,” LaBar said.
 

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