Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

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SelectUSA: Enhanced, Engaged… and in Japan!

March 20, 2014

Andrew Wylegala is the Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs at the Embassy of the United States in Japan.

From left: SelectUSA Executive Director Vinai Thummalapally, Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Akira Amari, and Ambassador Caroline Kennedy at the Investment Showcase in Tokyo. View more photos from the event on the ITA Facebook page.

From left: SelectUSA Executive Director Vinai Thummalapally, Japan Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Akira Amari, and Ambassador Caroline Kennedy at the Investment Showcase in Tokyo. View more photos on the ITA Facebook page.

Japan is the second largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the United States, with a total stock valued at $309.4 billion as of the end of 2012. According to our partners at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Japan registered its second-highest ever outbound investment level in 2012 at $122 billion, and Japanese investors chose to send 26 percent of that to American shores.

FDI isn’t just about capital: In 2011 more than 686,600 U.S. workers were employed by the U.S. subsidiaries of Japanese companies with an average wage of $78,356.

It’s clear that our investment relationship with Japan is a key contributor to the U.S. economy. That’s why our SelectUSA team and Commercial Service personnel in Japan joined U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy to host an investment showcase in Tokyo.

Japan’s Minister of State for Economic & Fiscal Policy Akira Amari and Ambassador Kennedy stressed at the investment showcase that few aspects of the broad United States-Japan partnership are more mutually beneficial than investment.

Dynamism was the first key concept. Japan has resumed its role as a powerhouse in cross-border direct investment. Japanese investors also continue to believe in the opportunities offered by the U.S. market.

For example, in 2012-13, Toyota, Nissan, and Honda expanded already sizable U.S. manufacturing footprints, contributing to the renaissance in American manufacturing.

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So what’s new? A wave of investment is under way, embracing sectors from cellular communications to carbon fiber; improved tomato seeds to Kentucky bourbon; economy hotels to the limits of the Japanese and American imagination!

A testament to the success of this investment showcase is Leslie Ken Yamada, president of Japan’s Sanikleen. He spoke about his company bringing its business model to Hawaii, having made important connections in the Hawaiian market with the help of the SelectUSA team.

Osaka-based Daiwa House and Dallas-headquartered Lincoln Property Company signed a memorandum of understanding to develop $1.5 billion worth of multi-family homes during the next three years, beginning with a joint project in Ft. Worth.

Mutuality was the second theme as Minister Amari and others stressed that the benefits of cross-border direct investment are multi-directional, flowing well beyond the country of investment, in the form of access to new markets and the generation of ideas that bubble up when individuals from diverse backgrounds work side-by-side.

Ambassador Kennedy observed: “Not only do investments create growth and jobs; they create advances that benefit society as a whole.”

For example, Olympus Surgical Technologies broke ground in December for a $37 million facility in Brooklyn Park, Minn. As an R&D, design, and manufacturing operation, the improvements in non-invasive surgery that engineers from both countries will develop in Minnesota will benefit patients worldwide.

We’ll continue to work closely with our friends in Japan to promote and facilitate investment. Thanks to the Association of American State Offices, JETRO, the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, and the Japanese government for contributing so much to our continued partnership.

If you’re a U.S. economic development organization aiming to attract increased FDI from Japan, please contact SelectUSA. We’re organizing a Road Show, May 19-23, in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka, and we’d love to have you join! Last year it sold out, so get in touch soon!

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Let the Games – and the Exports – Begin!

March 21, 2013

Chris Higginbotham is a Communications Specialist with the International Trade Administration’s Office of Public Affairs.

Chris's Final Four is the University of North Carolina, Indiana, Ohio State and Louisville. He has UNC beating Louisville in the final. Notable upsets include UNC beating Kansas, Florida and Indiana; Wichita State knocking off Gonzaga and Creighton making the Elite 8. He has Duke losing to Creighton in the second round, but a UNC alumnus predicting a Duke loss is hardly notable.

As a UNC alumnus, Chris Higginbotham showed a bias toward the Tar Heels in his bracket.

Well, we all had a couple of days to fill out our brackets. Now the men’s NCAA Tournament games have officially begun and the women’s games are soon to follow. You may have been watching as your brackets were already busted in the First Four games (like mine), or you might be four for four at this point.

One thing we can rely on is that millions of sports fans will be glued to the TV during the next couple of weeks to cheer on alma maters, rivals, and cinderellas. CBS estimates that 21 million sports fans watched last year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game.

On top of those 21 million viewers in the United States were viewers watching licensed broadcasts of the game overseas. That’s not just true for basketball; American sporting events from the Super Bowl to tennis tournaments, golf and auto racing are licensed overseas. And those licensing agreements are considered exports.

Based on the most recent data available, licensing for broadcasting and recording of live events totaled $675 million in 2011. That includes more than just sports; that also counts live entertainment events in other fields, like the Oscars. It counts licenses for both TV and radio. The largest market for these exports in 2011 was Japan, at $57 million.

Sports contribute to exports in other ways than just broadcast licenses; sports and performing arts are a significant part of America’s strong service industry (which achieved record exports in 2012). Exports in sports and performing arts totaled $893 million in 2011. This category includes services in the production, promotion, and organization of live entertainers including athletes, singers, and dancers.

Combining the above figures shows that the entertainment aspect of sports and entertainment events like the NCAA Tournament contributed to more than $1.5 billion in exports in 2011. Those exports continue to support thousands of jobs; it’s now estimated that every billion dollars in exports supports 4,926 jobs in the United States.

So remember, when you watch the NCAA Tournament – or any American sports or entertainment event – you’re supporting American exports and jobs.

I wouldn’t recommend using that justification if your boss catches you watching games at work this week though.

Keep checking back here as we continue to show how events like March Madness help support American exports. Enjoy the games!

(note: the data behind this post can be found from the Bureau of Economic Analysis tables 1 and 4)

(This article was edited on March 22 to clarify that the $1.5 billion figure represents the sum of broadcast licensing export figures and sports and performing arts figures)

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Timely Trade Policy Mission to Japan Yields Insights on Renewable Energy and Smart Grid Business Opportunities

December 27, 2012

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Cora Dickson is a Senior International Trade Specialist in ITA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries.

On a windy morning in early December, I stood on an observation platform gazing out over the sea of solar modules, and beyond that, the Pacific Ocean– or more precisely, Matsushima Bay, one of Japan’s “three most scenic spots.”  I was joined on the platform by several U.S. companies, officials and colleagues from the International Trade Administration (ITA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and workers from the Tohoku Electric Utility who were taking us on a tour of their solar power station.  The view was so breathtaking that it was hard to believe that in March 2011, the land where the solar panels now existed was covered by over 16 feet of water and debris from the tsunami.

International Trade Administration and Department of Energy employees pose for a photo with trade mission participants and workers from the Tohoku Electric Utility on an observation platform above Matsushima Bay in Japan in December 2012.

International Trade Administration and Department of Energy employees pose for a photo with trade mission participants and workers from the Tohoku Electric Utility on an observation platform above Matsushima Bay in Japan in December 2012.

This was the final stop in our “Tohoku (Northeast) Tour” to Fukushima and Miyagi, prefectures that are committing themselves to rebuilding with green technologies after being hit hard by the earthquake and tsunami.  The U.S. companies that signed up for the U.S.-Japan Renewable Energy Policy Business Roundtable in Tokyo on December 3 were given the option to take this tour, which also included courtesy call meetings with officials of both prefectures.

Led by ITA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing Maureen Smith and DOE’s Deputy Assistant Secretary Phyllis Yoshida, the trade policy mission accomplished its goals: to gain insights into the evolving policy and regulatory landscape for renewable energy and smart grid in Japan.  It was tied to our bilateral discussions, known as the U.S.-Japan Clean Energy Policy Dialogue, allowing private sector input to guide the direction of cooperative activities between our governments.

Prior to the trade mission, my office published a market intelligence brief, “Japan’s Electricity Market and Opportunities for U.S. Renewable Energy and Smart Grid Exporters,” to highlight the complexity yet attractiveness of this burgeoning market.  While Japan is no stranger to renewable energy, it has revisited its policies and incentives due to several factors, including the March 2011 disaster that led to a shutdown of all but two nuclear plants in the country.  There is even talk of structural reform in the electricity sector.

Cora Dickson of the International Trade Administration stands by a sign indicating the high water mark of the floodwaters at the Tohoku Electric Utility's liquified natural gas plant following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Cora Dickson of the International Trade Administration stands by a sign indicating the high water mark of the floodwaters at the Tohoku Electric Utility’s liquified natural gas plant following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Another opportunity for U.S. renewable energy and smart grid companies to explore Japan’s market is coming up February 27-March 1 at the World Smart Energy Week in Tokyo, a Commerce certified trade show.  Please contact Takahiko Suzuki if you would like more information.

We will continue to shore up our alliance with the Government of Japan as well as Tohoku communities to promote clean energy.  The Tohoku Tour allowed us to talk with local people about how they envision renewable energy and smart grid technologies will help them manage their energy needs in the wake of the disaster.

On the same grounds of the solar plant in Tohoku, we also briefly visited the 400 MW liquefied natural gas plant operated by the same utility. It had been converted from a coal plant years earlier.  The plant was strong enough to withstand the tsunami, though the workers told of how they retreated to the third floor for several days until the floodwaters receded.  They had no power and they could not contact their families because all the phone towers were also destroyed.

As our bus rolled back towards the city where we would catch the bullet train to return to Tokyo, we saw newly reconstructed houses on the coastline as well as abandoned foundations.  These were solemn reminders that Japan is both vulnerable and resilient, and will take proactive steps towards a better future.  We hope U.S. companies can partner with them to reach their goals.

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