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 Governor Barbour Leading Trade Mission to Japan
 “Invest in Mississippi,” meetings with Toyota suppliers on agenda

From: Office of the Governor    Filed 7/9/07  GCN

Governor Haley Barbour and a delegation of Mississippi business leaders left for Japan today, where they will tout the benefits of investing in Mississippi for prospective suppliers of the Mississippi Toyota plant.

The Governor and officials of the Mississippi Development Authority will host an “Invest in Mississippi” seminar on July 12 in Nagoya, Japan, to encourage Japanese business leaders, especially those in the automotive supply area, to take a look at opportunities in the Magnolia state. The delegation has also scheduled visits with a number of other companies that may have an interest in locating or expanding in Mississippi. 

“Working with Japanese business leaders has proven very productive, resulting in new, better-paying, higher-skilled jobs for Mississippians,” Governor Barbour said. “I intend to showcase all of the reasons that make Mississippi a solid investment for Japanese companies.”

Governor Barbour; Gray Swoope, MDA’s Executive Director; Aubrey Patterson, of Tupelo, chairman of the Mississippi Partnership for Economic Development; and Dennis Cuneo, Counsel for Arent Fox LLP, will be featured speakers at the seminar. Cuneo was the prime consultant for Toyota during the company's site selection process for a new auto assembly plant in North America; the process resulted in the selection of a site near Tupelo and an initial 2,000 jobs when the plant begins production of the Toyota Highland SUV by 2010.

In addition to presentations about Toyota’s recent announcement to locate in Mississippi, presenters at the seminar will share details about the state’s business climate, workforce development and training programs, and high quality of life.

“Mississippi has a strong relationship with Japan that Governor Barbour and others have worked hard to nurture,” Swoope said. “With this event, we want to build on those ties by highlighting the benefits our state can offer Japanese investors.”

A number of Japanese companies including Toyota, Nissan, Calsonic Kansei, Marubeni, Yoruzo, Unipres and others have operations or subsidiaries located in the state. Mississippi officials want to encourage other Japanese firms to take a look at the business advantages available in Mississippi.

This trade mission marks Governor Barbour’s third trip to Japan since he has been in office. The Mississippi delegation will return to the U.S. Friday afternoon.

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