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NDTO News Article

Governor Burgum Led Trade and Investment  Mission to Japan

ND Governor Doug Burgum led a successful Trade and Investment Mission to Japan in the first week of October 2022, emphasizing agriculture, energy, technology, and investment. The mission achieved a host of new partnerships between ND business professionals, the private sector, and government entities. Solidifying these relationships will bring about positive change for both ND and Japan.

The 35-member delegation included ND Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, leadership and staff from the North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO), ND Department of Commerce, ND Governors Office, Bank of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, and representatives from several ND companies. All of which contributed to strengthening ties with Japan as an important ally for ND and the US.

To start the mission, the US Ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, hosted the delegation for an evening reception at his official residence in Tokyo. This event was invaluable for state department officials, Japanese business representatives, and the ND delegation members to network and discuss potential trade and investment opportunities.

Throughout the mission, Governor Burgum highlighted the technology and innovation blossoming in ND for a variety of industries. Eight export-focused companies met one-on-one with interested buyers and associations to build relations and showcase ND products. Each company represented the state well in its key export industry. The delegation was welcomed warmly throughout, and it was a privilege to have such gracious hosts during the week-long mission. 

NDTO’s executive director, Drew Combs, explains, “Missions are the bread and butter of the NDTO, and I am overwhelmed by the support we received from our State and Federal partners, as well as honored by the tremendous effort shown by our Japanese counterparts. A very special thank you to Consul-General Tajima and the Japanese Consulate (Chicago) for all the special attention they gave to the mission! Although travel to Japan was not optimal due to issues surrounding the ongoing pandemic, we appreciate our Japanese friends who made it possible. I believe that the mission was a success overall, and North Dakota and Japan will see the benefits for many years to come.”  

Japan is one of ND’s top export markets, with total exports in 2021 reaching $40.1 million, with high-volume exports of ND commodities, including soybeans, spring wheat, and corn. With more than 125 million people living in Japan and being one of ND’s top export partners, this mission was an excellent opportunity to understand the needs of Japanese consumers. Japan was also the largest supporter of foreign direct investment in the US in 2020, contributing to nearly 1 million jobs and over $679 billion in investment.

Connections and partnerships with the Japanese have been long in the making with ND. With the onset of a global pandemic, several activities were postponed, and all parties were excited to have ND visit Japan and continue longstanding bonds for future collaborations.

Portions of the export mission were funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) ND program supports qualified small businesses from ND with their export initiatives.