Statewide NewsTaxes & SpendingTradeGov. Abbott Travels to Japan and South Korea, Aims to Strengthen Economic Ties

On an economic and business development mission, Gov. Abbott travels to Japan and South Korea to strengthen ties between Texas and the two nations.
September 23, 2019
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Last week, Governor Greg Abbott announced his plans to visit Osaka, Nagoya, and Tokyo, Japan before heading to Seoul, South Korea to discuss economic development opportunities and strengthen ties between the two countries and the state of Texas.

“Texas has a strong cultural and economic bond with Japan and South Korea, and this mission will deepen our growing partnership. From Toyota to Mitsubishi, leading manufacturing and tech companies have found a home in Texas because of our shared values and commitment to the free enterprise system,” Gov. Abbott said regarding the trip.

On Sunday, Gov. Abbott began his trip by traveling to Osaka, Japan, where he met with U.S. Consul General of Osaka, Kobe Karen Kelley, before attending a dinner hosted by Japanese Ambassador Kansai Jota Yamoto.

During this time, an official press release from the governor’s office states that Abbott and those in attendance discussed “bilateral relations and the strong economic partnership between Texas and Japan.” 

Today, on the second leg of his journey, Gov. Abbott met with executives from Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd. and Aisin AW in Nagoya, Japan to discuss continued business ventures between the automotive manufacturing company and Texas. 

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The company recently announced plans to expand its industry into the Lone Star State.

The automotive company that makes, develops, and distributes transmissions, navigation systems, and hybrid systems among other automotive parts recently announced a nearly $800 million partnership with Toyota that includes a $400 million investment toward building a new plant facility in Cibolo, Texas. 

With a population of approximately 30,000, Cibolo is predicted to gain 900 jobs from the venture. The small Texas town is centrally located between Austin and San Antonio.

Expressing his gratitude and excitement about the new partnership, Gov. Abbott said, “I am grateful to Aisin for their warm welcome, and I enjoyed discussing their recent investment in the Lone Star State. Aisin AW is playing a vital role in bringing more jobs and innovation to the state of Texas, and I look forward to growing our partnership in the years to come.” 

Gov. Abbott’s trip to Japan and South Korea comes the same week Congress is scheduled to discuss House Resolution 127 – a piece of legislation emphasizing the importance of U.S. alliances with both Japan and South Korea.

Texas currently ranks second among U.S. states for Japanese imports with a reported $16.7 billion in 2018 and is home to more than 400 Japanese companies, including headquarters for prominent organizations like Toyota and Kubota Tractor Corporation. 

As of 2014, Toyota has received some $40,000,000 in taxpayer-funded grants from the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF), which Toyota boasts has resulted in 3,650 jobs in Texas.

As of 2015, Kubota Tractor Corporation has received $3,800,000 in taxpayer-funded TEF grants for capital investments, claiming the creation of 344 jobs.

Japan currently ranks fifth among the largest export destinations for Texas with a total of $12.1 billion in 2018.

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Sarah McConnell

Sarah McConnell

Sarah McConnell is a reporter for The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Cyber Security Consultant after serving as a Pathways Intern at the Department of Homeland Security – Citizenship and Immigration Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M as well as her Master of Public Service and Administration degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. In her free time, Sarah is an avid runner, jazz enthusiast, and lover of all things culinary.