TOKYO – Michigan is more business friendly than ever and eager to build upon the state’s many longstanding productive relationships with Japanese businesses, Gov. Rick Snyder said today in remarks at the 2013 Midwest U.S.-Japan Association Conference.
“We are reinventing Michigan through bold reforms and moving forward with a new economic certainty that is very attractive to investors and businesses making new location and investment decisions,” Snyder said. “We have come to open new doors for trade and business between our state and Japan. We see many great opportunities ahead for all of us to do more business together.”
Snyder delivered his remarks at the opening session of the conference in Tokyo, attended by Midwestern U.S. governors and Japanese officials and business leaders.
Snyder also highlighted the significance of Michigan’s presence in the global economy and encouraged foreign businesspeople to consider investing here.
“With more than 1,000 divisions, affiliates and subsidiaries of overseas-based companies, Michigan offers a launching pad for global companies in any business,” he said. “Michigan and the Japan-based companies doing business in our state have enjoyed long and mutually beneficial relationships, and we look forward to continuing to partner with you as our reinvention continues.”
Also during the conference, Snyder reaffirmed the sister state agreement with Gov. Yukiko Kada of Shiga Prefecture, Japan, further strengthening the partnership for education, business development and tourism.
“The Michigan-Shiga partnership is one of the oldest sister state agreements between the United States and Japan. We value this long-term friendship with Shiga and we look forward to continuing the relationship for years to come,” Snyder said. “We are proud to continue this agreement with Gov. Kada and the Shiga Prefecture. It signifies a mutual commitment to our partnership and further promotes the economic and cultural development of the state of Michigan and Shiga.”
In addition to their active sister state and sister city relationships, which feature exchange programs for junior and senior high school students, Michigan and Shiga also maintain close ties through the Japan Center for Michigan Universities. The 24-year-old collaboration among the two governments and Michigan’s 15 state-supported universities is designed to build strong relationships between Japanese, Americans and other nationalities through active learning and participation in language, culture, family life and society via academic programs and cultural exchange activities.
“Michigan and Shiga have a special relationship which allows for active exchanges at a local, people-to-people level, which is a distinct advantage no other states have,” Kada said. “Through this relationship, we have been able to develop an invaluable base of human resources responsible for doing business between the U.S. and Japan. We would like to further promote economic development between both states by utilizing networks such as the alumni association for the Japan Center for Michigan Universities, along with cultural and friendship exchanges.”
In 1968 the state of Michigan and Shiga Prefecture became sister states, using the common bond of fresh water as the basis for the partnership. The sister state program is run by a board of directors. The state of Michigan has also provided funding for the Goodwill Missions, JCMU and other programs.
Following the conference, Snyder will fly to Beijing and spend the rest of the week meeting with senior government officials and executives of some of China’s largest companies. He will also deliver the keynote address at the Chinese International Auto Parts Expo taking place Sept. 12-16.
This is Snyder’s sixth mission since taking office. He traveled to Israel in June to increase bilateral trade and investments, academic cooperation and strengthen Michigan’s relationship with the state of Israel. He opened the Michigan Trade Center and met with business leaders in Toronto and met with Canadian government officials in Ottawa in November 2012. He led a 10-day trade mission to China in September 2012, a seven-day mission to Italy and Germany in March 2012 and an eight-day trade mission to Japan, China and Korea in September 2011.
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