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Economic Development Experts Praise Granholm's Efforts to Attract International Investment

Friday, August 05, 2005

Michael Shore, MEDC
(517) 335-4590

Japanese Investment Mission Scores Major Gains for State

State and local economic development officials who participated with Governor Jennifer M. Granholm on her recent investment mission to Japan today praised her extraordinary efforts to attract new jobs and business development to Michigan.

Joining Granholm and Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth Director David Hollister in Japan were Michigan Economic Development Corporation COO Sanford Ring and MEDC Director of Japanese Business Development Ken Masumoto; Battle Creek Unlimited President and CEO Jim Hettinger; Oakland County Economic Development Senior Business Development Representative Therese Thill; and Detroit Regional Chamber Business Development Senior Vice President John Carroll.

"This investment mission was a culmination of the Governor's efforts-both in terms of policy development and personal outreach-to help Japanese executives understand why Michigan is an excellent location for their businesses to grow," Hollister said. "The leaders' reception of the Governor and her message was phenomenal. There is no doubt that Michigan's economy will benefit as a result."

"The Governor's ability to connect with the various business leaders was truly inspiring," Ring said. "And, going forward, I suspect we will see many of these companies growing in Michigan."

Throughout the five-day investment mission, Granholm forged stronger alliances with the leadership of the country's automotive and new technology industries in meetings with high-level executives and representatives from more than 100 Japanese companies.

"I have been coming to Japan for 26 years and have never seen anyone so quickly and naturally build bridges and strengthen relationships the way Governor Granholm did," Hettinger said. "She made a really positive impact on people's perceptions of Michigan and the perceptions of the Toyota Group in particular. "

The investment mission resulted in commitments from 10 Japanese companies for projects that will generate more than $116 million in investment and create more than 600 Michigan jobs over the next several years. The companies are: Hitachi Automotive, Sekisui Chemical, Nippon Antenna, Nippon Piston Ring, Advanced Special Tools, Nakagawa Special Steel, Taiko Device Technologies, A&D Inc., DENSO and Tokai Rika.

"Oakland County was very pleased to have been able to team up with the Governor, Director Hollister, and other Michigan communities on this investment mission," Thill said. "Collectively, the Governor and her delegation did a terrific job in showcasing our State to a number of Japanese companies across a broad range of sectors."

Granholm pitched Michigan as the premier state for advanced automotive manufacturing, life science and high-tech manufacturing investment.

"This mission was a great opportunity to reach out to companies in advanced automotive manufacturing, alternative energies and life sciences and pharmaceuticals," Carroll said. "We demonstrated that while we are the place to be for the auto industry, our economy is far more diverse and growing."

A centerpiece of Granholm's economic plan is to make the state's business climate more attractive, create the best-trained workforce in the nation and boldly invest in creating new jobs in competitive-edge 21st century businesses.

"The company officials we met with really appreciated the Governor coming to Japan to talk with them," Masumoto said. "They were impressed by the things the Governor and MEDC are doing to attract international investment to the state."

Japan is Michigan's largest Asian export market and our third-largest market in the world. Michigan exported a billion dollars in goods to Japan last year, and Japan has more direct investment in Michigan than almost any other nation. Roughly 600 Japanese divisions, affiliates, and subsidiaries operate in Michigan, employing 100,000 people and contributing $8 billion to the state's economy.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life.