Missouri’s governor, the First Lady, state Department of Agriculture (MDA) director Chris Chinn and others will be traveling to Japan in October for an international trade mission.
Governor Mike Parson made Wednesday’s announcement during an event with the Missouri Pork Association at MDA headquarters in Jefferson City. Governor Parson tells 939 the Eagle he’s hoping to boost Missouri’s agricultural exports to Japan, along with exports in other industries.
“I think when you look at the world as a whole right now people are wanting to come back to the United States. They know where that’s the business they’re at. And I’ve said many times, the one great thing about Missouri, right now people are going to see where the cost of business is low, what’s the distribution like. And if you put your finger on the map on the United States of America, you’re going to put it on Missouri, ” Parson says.
Japan is a top source of direct foreign investment in Missouri, which exported $455-million in products to Japan last year.
Governor Parson and others on the trade mission will be meeting with executives from numerous Japanese companies, including Hitachi, Kawasaki, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Panasonic. Hitachi has a large plant in Jefferson City, while Kawasaki has a plant in mid-Missouri’s Boonville. The state Department of Economic Development (DED) says the average wage for the jobs at Boonville’s Kawasaki plant are “well above the average for Cooper County.” The average wage in Cooper County is about $35,000.
Governor Parson will be touting the Show-Me State as a prime business location when he travels overseas to Japan. One of the top exports from Missouri to Japan has been processed foods. Governor Parson says Missouri farmers benefit from increased exports to Japan.
“I think as you go overseas you understand how important it is. They’re wanting a better quality of meat, whether that’s beef, pork, chicken, whichever you want to send over there (Japan). But the point I’m trying to make that’s more opportunity for Missouri, because we know we sell some of the best products in the United States,” Parson says.
The governor is also touting the April merger between Canadian Pacific Railway and Kansas City Southern, which establishes the first and only single-line transnational railroad linking Canada, the United States and Mexico. The company is based in Kansas City, and Governor Parson tells 939 the Eagle that the rail line is important to Japanese companies operating in Missouri.
MDA director Chris Chinn will join Governor Parson on the trade mission to Japan, along with First Lady Teresa Parson and others. The trade mission is being funded by the Hawthorn Foundation, a Missouri nonprofit.
Parson is the first sitting Missouri Governor to visit Japan on a trade mission since then-Governor Mel Carnahan (D) 26 years ago.