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Georgia 's International Strategy Takes Delegations to Japan and China

Friday, October 14, 2005  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Perdue Leads Trade Delegation to Japan , Economic Development Commissioner to Visit China

ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue continues to lead an expansion of Georgia 's international presence as state delegations prepare for visits to Japan and China .  Governor Perdue departs tomorrow to lead Georgia 's delegation to the 29th annual Southeast U.S./Japan Joint Meeting (SEUS/Japan) in Tokyo , October 16 –18.  Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Craig Lesser, a member of the delegation, will proceed to China following the SEUS meeting to explore new business opportunities for the state.

“Business today is conducted on a global level, and it's important for Georgia to retain its competitive edge in the world market,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.  “We have successfully built many relationships that recognize the state's outstanding business assets, and we continue to seek out international opportunities to bring jobs and investment to Georgia .”

The SEUS/Japan Association was created in 1975 to build business ties and promote relations between Japan and the southern states of Alabama , Florida , Georgia , North Carolina , South Carolina , Tennessee and Virginia .  More than 550 business and political leaders will attend the annual meeting, which encourages international trade, industry, technology, culture and commerce between these states and Japan .  This year's theme is “Emerging Opportunities in the Global Economy.”

Japan is Georgia 's second-largest trade partner, with more than $1.5 billion in exports.  The country currently invests $7.6 billion in Georgia , and 335 Japan-based companies employ 32,000 Georgia citizens.

“The southeastern United States and Japan share a strong and productive relationship,” said Governor Perdue.  “We will explore our mutual interests at this meeting and the ways in which Georgia 's unparalleled business resources can benefit Japanese industry.”

Georgia 's Glenn Cornell, chairman of SEUS/Japan, will co-chair the conference with Taizo Nishimuro, chairman of the board of Toshiba Corporation and chairman of the Japan-U.S. Southeast Association (Japan USSE).  The association meets in the U.S. during even-numbered years and in Japan during odd-numbered years.  Governor Perdue hosted the 2004 meeting in Atlanta . Visit for more information about SEUS/Japan.

Following the conference, GDEcD Commissioner Craig Lesser will lead a mission to China for a week-long visit to explore opportunities for increasing global commerce and tourism between the two regions, including the possibility of opening an international office in China .

The group will visit Shanghai , Beijing and Ningxia to meet with the mayor, government officials and tourism representatives of each city as well as with various Chinese companies.  The delegation will also participate in the Sino-U.S. Logistics Summit Forum in Shanghai , celebrating a partnership between the Georgia Institute of Technology and Shanghai Jiao Tong University ; call on Georgia companies doing business in China , such as United Parcel Service and Coca-Cola; and meet with organizers for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing .

China ranks fifth among Georgia 's export destinations, with exports that totaled over $801 million in 2004.  Georgia 's exports to China are up 306 percent since 1997. According to the Georgia Ports Authority, Savannah ranks second among U.S. East Coast ports in imports from China , and ports authority officials anticipate strongly-increasing demand for Georgia-made products in Asia .

“China and Georgia have many opportunities to offer each other, and establishing an office in China will help open the doors to increased trading and tourism between our two regions,” said Commissioner Craig Lesser.  “Asia is an important part of our international outreach, and adding a China location to our existing offices in Japan and Korea will solidify our presence in the region and open more opportunities for Georgia businesses.”