Florida officials conduct trade mission in Japan to improve business relations

by | Oct 17, 2023



  • Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd and SelectFlorida agency participated in a trade mission to Japan last week in order to strengthen economic partnerships between Florida and Japan.
  • The mission, held from October 8 to 14, 2023, included a delegation from Florida, featuring businesses, public universities, and other stakeholders, collaborating with the 45th Annual Southeast U.S./Japan Association meeting (SEUS-Japan).
  • Japan serves as Florida’s 7th largest merchandise trading partner, with annual trade exceeding $6.6 billion. 

Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd, alongside business facilitation agency SelectFlorida, partook in a trade mission to Japan last week, focusing on strengthening economic partnerships between Florida and Japan.

“International trade missions are vital to bolstering and diversifying Florida’s economic ties and the SEUS-Japan meeting offers many opportunities to collaborate with Japanese business leaders, and connect Florida businesses with Japanese businesses and other southeastern U.S companies,” said Florida Secretary of Commerce J. Alex Kelly. “Florida continues to advance transportation infrastructure, connectivity, cultural ties, and the nation’s #1 talent development workforce – making Florida the ideal location for Japanese investment and trade.”

The mission, which took place from October 8 to 14, 2023, saw a delegation from Florida, including businesses, public universities, and other stakeholders, participate in collaboration with the 45th Annual Southeast U.S./Japan Association meeting (SEUS-Japan).

Chairman Mr. Masaaki Tsuya, Immediate Past Chairman and CEO, and current External Advisor of Bridgestone Corporation, and SEUS Chairman Mr. Eric Silagy, retired Chairman, President and CEO of Florida Power & Light Company, presided over the meeting of approximately 300 delegates.

This mission marked a continuation of Florida’s commitment to strengthening its ties with Japan, following Gov. Ron DeSantis’ trade and cultural mission to Tokyo in April 2023. Per state releases, key events included a “Doing Business in Florida” workshop, facilitating interactions between attendees and Japanese business executives interested in Florida’s business-friendly environment.

“This trade mission to Japan has only strengthened our great relationship,” said Byrd. “As Chief Cultural Officer and State Protocol Officer for Florida, I was honored to have meaningful conversations with many representatives, and I look forward to celebrating the growing relationship between our peoples.”

In April, DeSantis and NTT Data, a Tokyo-based information technology and consulting company, announced a partnership that will offer Florida university students a one-week internship at NTT’s headquarters in Tokyo.

More than 200 Japanese firms invest billions in the Florida economy, with leaders from major corporations attending the roundtable discussion. Florida’s strategic location serves as a convenient base for Japanese companies looking to expand into the Southeastern US and the Latin America and Caribbean region. Japan also stands as Florida’s 7th largest merchandise trading partner, with annual trade exceeding $6.6 billion.

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