AAP staff report
Governor Tim and First Lady Mary Pawlenty were in Asia this week to lead a trade mission to China and Japan, with the goal to help Minnesota companies increase exports, build strategic relationships, and explore new business opportunities. The trade mission began September 9 and wraps up September 18, and included stops in Shanghai and Beijing, China, along with and Tokyo and Osaka, Japan for meetings with business leaders and government officials and industry leaders. The delegation held networking activities and business visits along the way.
The economies of Japan and China rank second and third, respectively, behind the United States as the largest national economies in the world.
The Minnesota-China Partnership, announced by Governor Pawlenty in 2005, engages public and private organizations throughout the state to promote trade and investment, science and academia, arts and culture, and friendship and humanitarian endeavors.
On September 11, Governor Pawlenty and the Trade Mission delegation participated in the Shaanxi Province Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. The delegation also traveled to Xi’an, the Capital of Shaanxi Province, China, as a continuation of the sister-state relationship that was established in 1983 by Governor Rudy Perpich.
Later that day the delegation attended a University of Minnesota Alumni reception at Best Buy China Headquarters in Shanghai. The University of Minnesota has more students from China than any other University in the United States.
On September 14, Pawlenty met with China’s National Security Advisor Dai Bingguo in Beijing.
China buys more Minnesota manufactured goods than any country after Canada, importing more than $1 billion of Minnesota products every year since 2005. Top exports to China include machinery, including electrical machinery, medical instruments and plastics.
The delegation then left for Japan, where Governor Pawlenty met with Japan Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada in Tokyo on September 16. Later that day he met with Osako Mayor Kunio Hiramatsu, and Shigataka Sato, Chairman of the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Kansai Region.
Pawlenty delivered the keynote address at the Osaka Chamber of Commerce Medical Conference in Kita-ku, where he discussed the wide variety of opportunities with Minnesota, which exports medical instruments, electrical and other machinery, food, grain and other agricultural commodities to Japan.
Pawlenty was also in Tokyo that day to meet with James Zumwalt, the U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission in Japan, before another speaking engagement and delegation reception at the Imperial Hotel in Chiyoda-ku with members of local government and business leaders, along with senior Embassy officials.
On September 17, Governor Pawlenty spoke at the Japan Minnesota Association and the America-Japan Society of Tokyo luncheon at the Imperial Hotel. Later that day, the Governor visited the 3M Concept Store in Omotesando, Tokyo.
The Delegation Farewell Dinner was held that night at the Mori Tower, Roppongi Hills in Minato-ku, Tokyo.
In the fourth quarter of 2009, Minnesota exports increased to four of our state’s top ten trading markets, including China ($363 million, up 19 percent) and Japan ($226 million, up 6 percent). Korea ($129 million, up 20 percent) and Australia ($112 million, up 31 percent) were the other two markets in the top ten that showed an increase.
The team leaders included Governor Tim and First Lady Mary Pawlenty; Paul Anderson, Deputy Chief of Staff; Minnesota Trade Office Director Ed Dieter, and International Trade Representatives Li King Feng and Jennifer Kocs. The Governor’s security included State Troopers Tony Policano, Paul Gorski and Gerry Wells.
State officials on the delegation included Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson;
The business delegation included Jeffrey Rageth, 3M; Jane Yuen Lin Mahowald, Assure Shipping; Dale Wahlstrom, BioBusiness Alliance; Kjell Bergh, Borton Volvo; Steve Blum, Boston Scientific; Carol Jean Peterson, Business Growers; Jim Compart, Compart’s Boar Store; Herb Leifeld, CRC-Aspex; Jeffrey Davidman, Delta Airlines; Amy Xu, Dorsey & Whitney LLP; Mark Gaalswyk, Easy Automation Inc; Sam Roy, Easy Energy Systems; Scott Webb, Enhanced Sales LLC; Mathias Samuel, Fish & Richardson PC; Steve Dickinson, Fredrikson & Byron; Dennis Von Ruden, General Equipment Company; Mike Schumann, HSML, PC; Walt Ling, IBM; Ben van Lierop, Japan America Society; Dave Anderson, Jet Edge; Joel Carlson; Don Martin and Jerry Mueller of Lion Precision; Brad Stenzel, Matawan Grain & Feed; Trevor Gunn, Medtronic; Tony Zeuli, Merchant & Gould; Ken Herbranson, Midwest Dairy Association; Charlie Weaver Jr., Minnesota Business Partnership; Greg Schwarz, Corn Growers Association; Bob Zelenka, Grain & Feed Association; Bill Crawford, Pork Board; Kevin Hugoson, Pork Producers Association; Kurt Krueger, Soybean Growers Association; Gene Stoel, Soybean Research & Promotion Council; Rhonda Larson, Wheat Research & Promotion Council; Rhonda Larson, Auto Dealers Association; Scott Lambert, Greater Metro Dealers Association; Richard Rankka, SJE-Rhombus; Earl Potter, St. Cloud State University; Mike Nelson, Techmix; Chris Koch, Carlisle Industrial Brake & Friction; Paula Port, The Port Group LLC; Ken Port, William Mitchell College of Law; Gerry Keller, Zinpro; and Anne Marie Rogers, CTS Corporate Travel Solutions.
Governor Pawlenty has led previous trade missions to Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, India, Israel and Poland. Delegation members pay their own expenses. Expenses incurred by the Governor’s office for this trade mission was paid for by trade mission participants and not from taxpayer funds
The trade mission was coordinated by the Minnesota Trade Office. MTO is focused on increasing state export sales in foreign markets. It promotes international trade by providing export information, export education and training, and counseling to Minnesota companies that wish to sell goods and services in the international marketplace. www.exportminnesota.com