NDTO News Article

Dustin Willett (center) gives a tour to Consul General Okada (right) at Red Trail Energy

Japanese Consul General visits Western North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. – Japanese Consul General Kenichi Okada and two members of the Consul from the Economic Section are visiting western North Dakota this week to re-cement collaboration with the state. Hosted by the North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO), the delegation met with Gov. Doug Burgum, state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, and Director of Mineral Resources Lynn Helms.

“It has been a pleasure to reconnect with our Japanese partners and highlight the many opportunities North Dakota has for cooperation with Japan. We look forward to continuing to strengthen the relationship between our governments, businesses and citizens and identifying mutually beneficial opportunities for the future,” Burgum said.

In addition to the meeting with state leaders, the delegation visited the Red Trail Energy ethanol plant, met with Dickinson State University President Steven Easton and faculty, toured the North Dakota oil patch, and discussed unmanned aerial system (UAS) technology with key providers. Drew Combs, the executive director of the NDTO, led the Japanese delegation across western North Dakota to explore best practices in energy, breakthroughs in environmental technology, and opportunities for direct investment that North Dakota has to offer. Showcasing the various industries in North Dakota increases the synergy and builds upon the already strong ties between Japan and North Dakota. The delegation plans to visit eastern North Dakota for a fuller picture of the state’s versatility in the future.

In 2019, trade between Japan and the United States totaled $217 billion, and U.S. exports totaled $74 billion, making Japan the fourth-largest export market for the United States. For North Dakota, exports to Japan in 2019 totaled $37 million. The top export categories from North Dakota to Japan in 2019 included oil seeds, miscellaneous grains, and seeds (51.57%); aircraft and spacecraft equipment and parts (17.12%); nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery, and mechanical equipment (9.47%); and cereal grains (6.53%).

The NDTO has continued to shape relationships with our Japanese friends, completing trade missions and reverse trade missions focused on value-added agriculture and energy. The NDTO looks forward to embracing this relationship more fully in the future with hopes of a trade mission to Japan in the spring of 2021. A trade mission to Japan was initially planned for the fall of 2020 but was postponed due to the global pandemic.