Monday, November 10, 2008

Ritter Announces Trade Mission to Far East

Gov. Bill Ritter announced today that 40 Colorado business, economic-development and research leaders will travel with him to Japan and China later this month to encourage new business and investment opportunities that will bring long-term benefits to Colorado’s economy.

The delegation will leave Colorado Nov. 15 and return Nov. 25. The members will visit Tokyo, Beijing and Shanghai, meeting with business and government leaders in an effort to build long-term business relationships and cultivate investment leads.

“This economic-development mission will allow Colorado to showcase many of our strengths, including Colorado’s New Energy Economy and our achievements in the research and development of new solar, wind and biofuel technologies,” Gov. Ritter said. “The mission also will highlight our bioscience, technology and tourism sectors, and create new opportunities for Colorado companies to build sales and expand into new markets.”

The mission's goals include promotion of a daily nonstop Denver-to-Tokyo flight by Nippon Airways, encouragement of Asian participation and investment in Ritter's "New Energy Economy" initiative, and promotion of Colorado’s bioscience and technology sectors.

The business leaders and Ritter will also try to convince two Japanese educational institutions to create a new "Center for Environmental Medicine" along with Colorado State University.

“This mission is the culmination of the first year of what will be a multi-year strategy to increase our trade and presence in Asia,” said Tom Clark, executive vice president of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. “To be successful in the Asian market requires patience, commitment and repetition.”

The Metro Denver Economic Development Council, Denver International Airport and the state's tourism industry launched a campaign earlier this year called Ascent to Asia that aims to secure and support nonstop service between Denver and Tokyo. Over the past 13 months, economic-development officials have made three other trips to Japan to work on securing a new flight.

“The governor’s economic development mission to Japan and China will provide an important boost to DIA’s efforts to secure a nonstop flight between Denver and Tokyo,” Kim Day, DIA’s manager of aviation, said. “Although this is a long-term process, the governor’s support will ensure that Denver and Colorado remain visible in the Japanese market.”

CSU’s acting president emphasized the importance of progress toward creating the CSU Center for Environmental Medicine.

“This unique center will play a crucial role in educating businesses and bringing together government agencies to better agree on and monitor health and safety product standards," CSU interim president Tony Frank said. "It also will provide tomorrow’s environmental health leaders with one-of-a-kind international experiences.”

Japan is Colorado's fourth-largest export market, with 2007 exports to Japan totaling $359 million. Leading 2007 export categories included medical and scientific instruments, up more than 54 percent to $98 million; meat and meat products, up 164 percent to $63 million; and industrial machinery, $55 million.

China overtook Japan as Colorado’s third-largest export market in 2006. The state's exports to China last year totaled $488 million. Important export commodities in 2007included electrical machinery, $96 million; base metal and cermets, up 45 percent from the previous year to $93 million; and medical and scientific instruments, $73 million.