Gov. Beshear to court Asian businesses this weekend

04/10/2015 01:04 PM

In his final year in office Gov. Steve Beshear has been promising to keep his foot on the accelerator and continue to attract jobs to Kentucky — something he plans on doing over the next two weeks with help from the Far East.

Beshear along with First Lady Jane Beshear and 30 delegates from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce will leave Kentucky Saturday to travel to Taiwan, Singapore, Japan to meet with business leaders and political figures, Beshear’s office announced Friday in a news release.

The trip to the countries will be used to promote Kentucky and strengthen existing relationships with businesses already in the state. More than 170 business facilities in Kentucky are run by Asian interests employing 40,000 individuals in the commonwealth, according to the governor’s office.

“I’m very excited for the opportunity to visit Taiwan, Singapore and Japan,” Beshear said in a press release. “Mutual goodwill, economic development and prosperity are common goals we all share. We’re looking forward to capitalizing on the enormous potential that exists, as well as strengthening existing relationships and building new ones that will further enhance our economic ties with three of the world’s largest economies.”

Beshear will begin his trip in Taiwan, where he will meet President Ma Ying-jeou to “further explore trade and investment opportunities,” according to a press release. Kentucky and Taiwan enjoy a sister-state relationship. The link has been in place for more than 30 years and was first instituted under former Gov. John Y. Brown in 1982.

The delegation will then travel to Singapore, Beshear’s first trip to the southeast Asian nation.

Beshear has a separate economic development mission in Japan, though a press release from the Chamber of Commerce says he will meet up with the delegation again during a reception at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. The group will also tour the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology in Nagoya.

“Kentucky has a crucial relationship with Japan,” said Kentucky Chamber President Dave Adkisson in a press release. “Our key purpose of this trip is to say ‘thank you’ to the Japanese companies that have invested in Kentucky by locating operations here. Not only are Toyota and its suppliers integral to our economic future, but we also have significant investments with Brown-Forman corporation, Suntory Beam and many others.”

During the last five years, Japanese companies have announced investments of more than $2.2 billion in their Kentucky facilities, which are expected to create nearly 6,000 jobs, according to a press release.

“We are seeing more and more Asian companies making the decision to invest in the Commonwealth,” Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes said in a news release. “This trip will allow us to personalize relationships with companies, business organizations, as well as country officials, and build a strong case for Kentucky as a great place to do business.”

Beshear is scheduled to return to Kentucky on April 22.


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