Gov. Matt Bevin today will lead an economic development and trade mission to Japan and the Republic of Korea to meet with executives, strengthen ties and encourage international investment and job creation in Kentucky.
Gov. Bevin, along with Sec. Terry Gill and Executive Officer Vivek Sarin of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, will promote Kentucky in meetings with leaders of Japanese and Korean manufacturing, service and technology corporations. Companies include those with facilities already in the state, as well as new prospects.
“Kentucky continues to distinguish itself as America’s center of engineering and manufacturing excellence. In a globally competitive economy, it is imperative that we build new relationships and strengthen existing ties with companies in Japan and the Republic of Korea,” Gov. Bevin said. “Both nations play a significant and growing role in the commonwealth’s economy, international trade sector and in our industrial, commercial and technology supply chains. We are committed to developing new opportunities across the globe that create jobs, investment and economic growth for Kentucky.”
Japan holds title as Kentucky’s largest international investor as Japanese-owned companies operate more than 190 facilities in the commonwealth, directly employing nearly 46,000 people full-time. More than 140 of those facilities are in the state’s automotive industry.
The Japan-Kentucky business relationship stretches back to 1974 when machine-tool supplier and service provider Yamazaki Mazak Corp. of Aichi, Japan, established its North American headquarters in Florence. Kentucky delegations visited Japan twice last year, in March and December, and the Governor’s Office regularly hosts Japanese cultural events, celebrations and business meetings in the state.
Since January 2016, Japanese-owned companies have announced 67 expansion or new-location projects in Kentucky. Those represent nearly $2.9 million in planned investments and more than 3,760 new full-time jobs. That includes $1.45 billion in reinvestments announced last year by Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, the automaker’s largest plant globally.
Five companies with roots in the Republic of Korea operate – or are currently building – a total of six facilities in Kentucky, currently employing nearly 400 people with an additional 200 jobs pledged.
Clark Material Handling operates a parts warehouse in Louisville and has its headquarters, R&D and fork truck manufacturing facilities in Lexington.
INFAC North America Inc. assembles, sells and distributes automotive control cables from Campbellsville.
Kiswel Inc., located in Florence, manufactures welding wire, flux, coated wire and electrodes.
DAE-IL announced in December 2017 it will establish a 120-employee manufacturing operation in Murray to produce gears for passenger vehicles and heavy equipment.
Taeyang Metal in November 2017 announced it will create 76 jobs at a new manufacturing location in Franklin, which will produce metal fasteners and cold-rolled steel products for the automotive industry.
During the Bevin administration, Kentucky has announced nearly $75 million in new investments by companies based in Republic of Korea, which will create nearly 275 jobs.
Through March, the most recent data available, Kentucky exported about $100 million in products and services to the Republic of Korea, making it Kentucky’s 14th largest export destination by dollar value.
Kentucky’s exports to Japan this year through March, stood at $270 million in products and services, making it Kentucky’s ninth largest export destination by dollar value.
In addition to meeting with individual corporate teams, members of the Kentucky delegation will host business networking receptions in both nations, hold discussions with trade associations, chambers of commerce and government officials, as well as meet with U.S. Ambassador to Japan William Hagerty.