ST. PAUL (July 16, 2012) — Hundreds of corporate executives and government officials are expected to attend the 44th annual Midwest U.S.-Japan Association Conference at the Minneapolis Hilton Hotel on Sept 16-18.
The conference will focus on strengthening economic and political ties between Midwestern states and Japan. Six U.S. governors are scheduled to speak, including Gov. Mark Dayton, who will welcome the group to Minnesota. This will be the first time that the conference has been held in Minnesota in 27 years.
“The Midwest U.S.-Japan Association encourages new business partnerships and deepens mutual understanding between business leaders and government officials in the two countries,” said Gov. Dayton. “The annual conference is an opportunity to bring together key business and government leaders to explore strategies for building on our relationship with Japan.”
“Japan and the Midwest have a special connection that spans more than four decades,” added Katie Clark, executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office, which is serving as a host of the event. “This conference underscores our commitment to building trade and investment opportunities and enhancing relationships between these two parts of the world.”
The event began in 1967 when business leaders from Japan and the Midwest met to discuss the growth of bilateral trade and investment. That first meeting eventually grew into an annual event that also includes government officials from 10 member states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin.
The 2012 conference will feature a variety of panel discussions, with participants including the president and CEO of Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America Inc., the chairman of NEC Corp., and the executive adviser at All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd. Twin Cities companies also will be well-represented on the panels, including executives from Medtronic, 3M, Ecolab, Toro Co. and McQuay International.
The conference is an opportunity for companies interested in doing business in Japan to make contacts or develop relationships, or for businesses already operating in Japan to build on existing partnerships. Registrations are being accepted through Sept. 7 at the following link: www.midwest-japan.org/pages/register.aspx.
The Minnesota Trade Office, an office of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, is focused on increasing state export sales in foreign markets. MTO promotes international trade by providing export information, export education and training, and one-on-one counseling to Minnesota companies that wish to sell manufactured goods and services in the international marketplace
DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development.