Gov. Lee to head trade mission to Japan, South Korea

Gov. Bill Lee delivers his first State of the State address in Nashville on March 4, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Lee is headed to Asia on a trade mission later this month, his office announced Thursday. Lee will be joined on the five-day trip by Bobby Rolfe, the commissioner of economic and community development. It’s the first-year governor’s first international trip and it will include stops in South Korea and Japan.

Here’s the full release:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe will travel to Asia June 17 through June 21 for an economic development trip designed to strengthen ties with Asian businesses and increase foreign direct investment (FDI) in Tennessee. This will be Gov. Lee’s first international economic development trip.

During the five-day trip, Lee and Rolfe will discuss Tennessee’s business advantages with a number of Asian businesses interested in establishing operations in the Southeast U.S. The trip will include stops in South Korea and Japan.

“I look forward to traveling to Asia next week on my first international recruitment trip and having the opportunity to meet with business leaders as we showcase the many advantages of doing business in Tennessee,” Lee said. “We are proud to be home to more than 1,000 foreign-owned companies and will continue to demonstrate our commitment to fostering a business-friendly environment that will help companies from around the globe grow and succeed in the Volunteer State.”

“More than 153,000 Tennesseans are employed by foreign-owned companies. By investing in a broader international footprint, we are ensuring that Tennessee is deeply rooted in the new global economy,” Rolfe said. “I am hopeful that this trip will further strengthen our partnerships with Korean and Japanese companies as we continue to promote international recruitment and expansions in Tennessee.”

Japan is Tennessee’s top country for foreign direct investment. There are nearly 200 Japanese companies that have invested $19.5 billion in the state. These companies employ over 53,300 people in 51 of Tennessee’s 95 counties.

Top Japanese companies located in Tennessee include Bridgestone, CalsonicKansei, DENSO, JTEKT and Nissan.

There are 15 Korean companies in Tennessee that employ a workforce of more than 3,100 and have invested over $1 billion in nine counties across the state.

Top Korean companies doing business in Tennessee include ATLASBX, Hankook Tire, LG Electronics, Sam Dong and SL Tennessee.

4 Responses to Gov. Lee to head trade mission to Japan, South Korea

  • MARLE says:

    We shouldn’t be spending a dime on trade development. Just as soon as we do Trump could declare any country on earth (as he has for France, Germany, Australia and Canada to name a few) to be “beating us and playing unfairly” deserving of a 25% tariff. They in turn will retaliate

    With a whimsical, unilateral trade war launched on any day, against any country by the will of Exec order, trying to developing trade that will not be sabotaged is a fool’s errand. Until this president serves out his next 5 years don’t waste TN taxpayer money. Besides who needs international trade? We can produce for our own consumers alone! MAGA

  • James White says:

    Well we don’t need the sovereignty destroying ‘free’ trade agreements that is for sure. I agree with MARLE. Lee should travel to the other 49 states and develop trade and persuade businesses to move to tax friendly (some what) Tennessee.

  • Phil Lassiter says:

    Casada taking the state plane to Colorado this week, so what’s the big deal?

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