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Iowa delegation ends trade mission to Japan

Left to right in front: Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig, Gov. Kim Reynolds, IEDA Director Debbie Durham.

DES MOINES – Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, and Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Director Debbie Durham wrapped up a 24-member trade mission delegation to Japan this week. The mission, which focused on the food and ag industry, was aimed at expanding trade and investment opportunities and is being coordinated by the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

The delegation left for Japan on Friday, November 8 and returned to Iowa on November 14. The itinerary was comprised of stops in Yamanashi (Iowa’s sister state) and Tokyo. Mission highlights include meeting with Yamanashi Governor Kotaro Nagasaki, hosting a seminar about doing business in Iowa and meetings with existing industry representatives and investment prospects.

In 2018, Iowa companies exported $1.5 billion goods to Japan. Japan is Iowa’s third largest export destination and the leading export market for pork and beef products. Iowa companies exported $537 million in meat products to Japan in 2018. In addition, Japan is the second largest destination for Iowa corn – in 2018, Japan imported $491 million in Iowa corn.

“Our strategy to increase both exports and foreign direct investment is vital to our overall economic development plan,” said Gov. Reynolds about the excursion. “Leading trade missions such as this opens doors for Iowa by showcasing our products to the global economy and forging personal face to face relationships that last a lifetime. Japan is an important partner with substantial economic power, and we want to encourage Iowa companies to make the most of it.”

“Japan is the largest export market for Iowa’s beef and pork producers. I was excited to be in New York City when President Trump and Prime Minister Abe signed the new trade agreement in September,” said Secretary Naig. “This trade mission is a great way to celebrate our countries’ renewed partnership and explore new opportunities to work together.”

Mission participants include IEDA and Iowa Finance Authority Director Debi Durham, Iowa companies involved in meat and food processing and representatives from the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Corn Growers and Iowa Sister States. Iowa companies participated in meetings specific to their market entry or expansion needs. IEDA has been working with the U.S. Meat Export Federation to identify business prospects for the delegation.

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