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Friday, March 1, 2024

Cooper, NC officials travel to Japan to talk business

Gov. Roy Cooper and other state officials met with Japanese business and political leaders this week to discuss the state’s partnership with the Asian nation and its businesses.

Cooper was joined at the Southeast U.S./Japan Association Meeting by N.C. Department of Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders and Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina Director Christopher Chung. The association, which promotes ties between the region and Japan, will hold its annual meeting in Charlotte next year.

Their travel comes as Toyota Motors builds a $5 billion battery manufacturing facility in Liberty at the Greensboro Randolph Megasite. Japanese investment announced in the state has topped $6.6 billion in the state since 2018, according to Chung’s office

“Over thousands of miles of land and sea and several generations, North Carolina’s relationship with Japan has grown strong and resolute, producing valuable successes for our people,” Gov. Cooper said in a release. “We look forward to continuing to work together to bring success to both the southeastern United States and Japan through this valuable partnership.”

Japanese companies with a footprint in the state include Bridgestone Corp., a tire manufacturer with an operation in Wilson, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy in Wilmington and Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies USA in the Research Triangle, among others

Honda Aircraft also announced in July a $55.7 million investment in Guilford County for the production of its new HondaJet light aircraft, bringing the company’s total investment in the state to more than $335 million.

Japan isn’t the only country in which North Carolina is building business ties. In 2018, EDPNC established an office in Bangalore, India, committed to attracting Indian corporate investors. Gov. Cooper in April attended the U.S.-India Business Connection event in Morrisville, which has a significant Indian American population. 

VinFast Auto, owned by Vietnamese billionaire Pham Nhat Vuong, is investing $4 billion and pledging 7,500 jobs at a manufacturing site in Chatham County — the largest economic development project in North Carolina’s history, according to EDPNC.

“VinFast’s decision to build its new plant in North Carolina proves we are a top destination for world-class companies,” said state Sen. Dan Blue (D-Wake) at the time.

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