Fletcher Heading On Economic Trip To Japan & Asia

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Gov. Ernie Fletcher, hoping to spur
additional foreign investment in Kentucky, is heading on a nine-day
trip overseas with stops in Japan and China, his office said
Fletcher and other state officials, including new Economic
Development Secretary John Hindman, are scheduled to leave on
Tuesday. They hope to build on recent investments that Japanese
companies have made in Kentucky.
"This trip will allow us the opportunity to develop new
contacts and expand upon our existing relationships in the business
community," Fletcher said in a statement.
The governor's previous trip to Japan was last year, and his
prior trip to China was the year before. Since becoming governor in
December 2003, Fletcher has been to Japan three other times, while
this would mark Fletcher's second trip to China since taking
Topping Fletcher's Japanese agenda are meetings with businesses
considering locating in Kentucky, and visits to companies already
operating in the state. A report last month by the state Economic
Development Cabinet claimed Japanese companies had nearly 150
facilities in Kentucky that counted for more than 38,000 jobs.
Three Japanese companies have moved ahead with projects in
Kentucky since Fletcher's last trip there, according to the
That includes automotive components manufacturer Nifco, which is
planning a new $15 million facility in Shelbyville. Toyota Boshoku
America Inc., which manufactures interior auto parts, announced in
April it was setting up its North American home office in northern
Kentucky. Meanwhile, Howa USA Inc., recently broke ground on a new
Bowling Green plant that will make automobile interior products
such as headliners, dashboard insulators and sunshade trims.
After Japan, Fletcher is scheduled to head for China to
commemorate the one-year anniversary of Kentucky's Beijing trade
office. Kentucky's trade office in China has three people working
there, Fletcher spokeswoman Jodi Whitaker said.
The governor and Hindman are scheduled to meet with government
officials on different economic topics, including coal and animal
"We're making remarkable progress in our international trade
efforts, reaching a record level of over $17 billion in total
exports in 2006," Fletcher said in the statement. "The
possibilities are endless and we plan to take full advantage of
every opportunity."
State government is paying for at least six people to accompany
Fletcher overseas. Whitaker said first lady Glenna Fletcher is
among those going with the governor.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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