A delegation of government officials, businesses and local communities from Georgia recently attended the 38th annual Southeast U.S. (SEUS) – Japan conference in Birmingham, Alabama. The multi-day conference aims to foster trade and investment opportunities between the two regions. Georgia’s delegation, second in size only to the host state, was led by Chris Riley, Chief of Staff to Governor Nathan Deal.
Created in 1976 by former Georgia Governor George Busbee, SEUS-Japan was established to promote trade, investment, understanding and friendship between Japan and the southeastern United States. Member states include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, and as well as a Japanese counterpart, the Japan-U.S. Southeast Association.
The 2015 event theme was “Initiative for a Sustainable Future through Continuous Innovation”. Former U.S. Secretary of State, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, gave the keynote address to more than 400 attendees at the historic Alabama Theatre. Other guest speakers included the Honorable Kenichiro Sasae, Japanese Ambassador to the U.S., and Martin Luther King, III, global human rights activist. The conference also included two executive leadership exchange panels on innovation and economic growth as well as how industry and government adapt to environmental changes.
Japan is a leading investor and trade partner, accounting for approximately 140,000 jobs within the SEUS region. More than 400 Japanese facilities operate in Georgia, with notables like Kubota, Miura and YKK. Additionally, Georgia exported nearly $1.4 billion in products and services to Japan in 2014.
Georgia’s oldest economic development office is located in Tokyo, Japan. Ms. Yumiko Nakazono serves as managing director and assists Japanese companies looking to invest in Georgia.
The state of Georgia hosted the first annual joint meeting in Atlanta in 1976, as well as the 1990 and 2004 joint meetings. Georgia’s next rotation to host SEUS Japan will occur in 2019.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) plans, manages and mobilizes state resources to attract new business investment to Georgia, drive the expansion of existing industry and small business, locate new markets for Georgia products, inspire tourists to visit Georgia and promote the state as a top destination for arts events and film, music and digital entertainment projects.