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Nathan Buehler
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December 5, 2019 Media Contact
Nathan Buehler 503-689-3559

Oregon Officials Wrap Up 2019 Asia Trade Mission

The Oregon delegation conducting a trade mission to Japan and South Korea returned last month after two weeks of promoting Oregon goods and working to attract investment and tourism in to the state.

Governor Kate Brown led the delegation of about 40 public and private sector leaders, including representatives from Business Oregon, the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Travel Oregon, and the Port of Portland.

"This was a successful trade mission to promote Oregon products and services, foster business connections with our trading partners in Asia, and help our thriving economy continue to grow," said Governor Brown. "I'm especially pleased that, after our meetings with their executives, the South Korea-based SM Line will be bringing weekly container shipping to the Port of Portland, which will create jobs for Oregonians and even more opportunities for our local companies to market Oregon products in Asia."

Foreign trade missions are key for building long-term relationships and economic outcomes, but can also be a pivotal element in more immediate returns. That was the case this trip, when earlier this week the Port of Portland announced new weekly container service from SM Line will be coming to the port, after the Governor, Port of Portland, and Business Oregon staff met with SM Line in Tokyo during the mission.

There were approximately 50 diverse meetings and events during the mission. These included visiting companies doing business in Oregon, meeting with those looking to expand into the state, promoting Oregon products, and meeting with governmental counterparts.

Ampere Scientific, from Albany was one of the businesses that participated in the trade mission in South Korea.

"With the support of the Governor's office and Business Oregon, we were able to establish relationships with a number of key personnel representing the most advanced companies in our market sector in South Korea," said Paul E. King, President and CEO of Ampere Scientific. "These relationships appear to be working towards substantial agreements and sales. Without participation in the trade mission, we would not have made these contacts as quickly and efficiently in our sales efforts in the region."

There are also several leads coming in from business recruitment and investment activities during the mission. Business Oregon director Chris Harder pitched business expansion opportunities at several larger group presentations in Japan and South Korea. Oregon recently welcomed its 150th Japanese company to the state, JSR Corporation, which the team met with during the mission.

Some additional highlights include:

  • Met with the South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, and discussed low-emission transportation (EVs and hydrogen vehicles), agricultural exports, health care, and education.
  • Met with the South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, and discussed low-emission transportation (EVs and hydrogen vehicles), agricultural exports, health care, and education.
  • Saw Erickson fire-fighting helicopters running drills in Korea, where they have been purchasing the Central Point, Oregon-made vehicles.
  • Governor Brown led two women leadership forums, bringing together private and public sector women leaders in both Korea and Japan to discuss strategies to advance women in the workplace and leadership roles.
  • Met with Korean Minister of Trade, Yoo Myung-hee and discussed Oregon exports.
  • Tour of Shimadzu's impressive facility, where they produce medical equipment such as a mobile x-ray machine and a mammogram table that is more effective and much less painful than traditional mammograms.
  • Visited entrepreneurial incubators and social entrepreneurship efforts.
  • Met with Hakutsuru Sake, investor in America's 1st craft sake brewer, Sake One, which opened in Oregon in 1987.
  • Held business meeting with SM Line, resulting in commitment for weekly container service at the Port of Portland.
  • Met with several business associations to pitch foreign investment in Oregon, such as the Federation of Middle Market Enterprises of Korea (FOMEK) in Korea, and the Keidanren Japanese business federation in Tokyo.
  • Held an event touting Oregon's strong athletic and outdoor gear industry in Tokyo.
  • Met with the US Ambassador to South Korea, Harry Harris.
  • Discussed urban planning and sustainability with the Mayor of Kyoto, Daisaku Kadokawa.
  • Received a briefing from the interim US Ambassador to Japan.
  • Discussed trade with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The state of Oregon conducts a trade mission to Asia each year to advance Oregon economic interests and build cultural relationships.

Business Oregon can help small businesses explore export opportunities to grow revenue. The state has matching grants available that can offset some of the costs associated with entering new markets such as trade show participation, travel costs, website localization, or consulting.

Funding is limited and companies need to meet certain criteria. More information and applications are available on our Export Promotion webpage.

Business Oregon, the state's economic development agency, invests in Oregon businesses, communities, and people to promote a globally competitive, diverse, and inclusive economy. The agency's services span rural community development and infrastructure financing; business retention, expansion and recruitment; export promotion and international trade; investments in industry research and development and entrepreneurship; small business assistance; and support for arts and cultural organizations.