Kentucky Ag Commissioner participates in Japan trade mission
Kentucky exports nearly $1 billion in products to Japan annually
FRANKFORT (June 13, 2023) – A recent trip to Japan could open more agricultural trade opportunities for Kentucky and the United States, according to Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles.
“It was an honor to represent the United States and Kentucky on this official trade mission to one of the biggest markets for the United States,” Commissioner Quarles said. “Kentucky already has a strong trade relationship with Japan, which was evident while I was there with Kentucky Proud products in the grocery stores and Kentucky-raised horses at the racetracks. A part of the strategy for the U.S. is to be very active in established and growing markets. Our hope is to continue our current relationship with Japan, with the goal of building upon it for the U.S. and our commonwealth.”
Commissioner Quarles was invited to participate in the agricultural trade mission trip by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis M. Taylor.The U.S. Delegation included Quarles and representatives from 10 other state departments of agriculture, numerous farm organizations, and agribusinesses looking to connect with future business partners in Japan.
While in Japan, USDA facilitated business-to-business meetings between participating small and medium-sized U.S. agribusinesses and Japanese buyers seeking to import American food and farm products. Thetrademission itinerary also included meetings with Japanese and local prefecture government officials and industry groups to discuss trade issues and unique opportunities offered by Japanese consumers, retail promotions featuring U.S. products, and visits to Japanese farms and packaging facilities.
As one of the largest world economies, Japan is one of the top and most reliable trading partners for the United States. Every year for over the past two decades, Japan has imported at least $10 billion worth of U.S. food and agriculture products, reaching a record-high $14.6 billion in 2022.
For Kentucky, Japan equates to about a $1 billion in exported products including civilian aircraft and parts, and agricultural products, including premium Kentucky bourbons, beef, pork, hardwood, and thoroughbred horses.
Japan is the largest foreign investor in Kentucky. According to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development Commission, there are nearly 200 Japanese-owned companies operating in the state.
Employment by Japanese owned companies is estimated to be at least 47,000 people, accounting for about 42 percent of all employment created in Kentucky by foreign direct investment. Leading Japanese companies with operations in Kentucky include automotive-related companies such as Toyota, Hitachi, Sumitomo, and many others.Kentucky is also home to iconic liquor companies, including BeamSuntory, Four Roses(Kirin) and AGE International.
Kentucky imports about $57 billion in products each year.Of that amount, more than $5 billion is imported from Japan annually. Top imports from Japan include blood and vaccines, turbines, motor vehicle parts, and medicaments.
To view photos from the Commissioner's trip, click here.