Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
September 2004
Gov. Doyle Leads Trade Delegation to Japan

From Sept. 24-30, I accompanied Gov. Jim Doyle as he led a business delegation to Japan. For many years, Japan has been Wisconsin's second-largest export customer. Wisconsin's exports to Japan totaled $816.7 million in 2003. Strong export commodities in 2003 included electrical machinery, up 75.0 percent to $34.8 million; vehicles, up 58.4 percent to $17.3 million; and paper and paperboard, up 36.5 percent to $9.6 million.

The Governor had three principle objectives for leading the delegation to Japan:

1. Sell Wisconsin as a site for Japanese investments
The Governor addressed the 36th annual Midwest US-Japan/Japan- Midwest US Associations Conference on September 27. The conference provides a forum for discussing the growth and progress of economic relations between the Midwest and Japan. The Governor discussed his efforts to improve Wisconsin's business climate - balancing the budget without a tax increase and instituting comprehensive regulatory reform. His reforms are working. Over the past year, Wisconsin has led the Midwest region of the United States in job creation and in the creation of manufacturing jobs.

The Governor also mentioned traditional Wisconsin advantages such as:

  • The nation's best educational system--K-12 through vocational and university systems
  • Strong heritage in agriculture and manufacturing
  • Well-educated and productive workforce
  • Four-season recreation and natural beauty
  • Safe communities, reasonable living costs, and short commutes

More than 30 years ago, Kikkoman Corporation was the first Japanese company to establish a facility in the US. Mr. Yuzaburo Mogi, Chairman and CEO of Kikkoman Foods, Inc., and Chairman of the Japan-Midwest U.S. Association, arranged a reception for the Governor with senior executives from Toyota, Honda, Toshiba, and All Nippon Airways and the Japanese Ministers of Finance and Economy, Trade and Industry.

2. Sell Wisconsin's bioscience capabilities and promote Japanese/ Wisconsin partnerships in this area
The Governor used his appearance at the JETRO Biolink Conference in Tokyo September 27 to highlight new developments and opportunities for cooperation between Japanese and Wisconsin biotechnology companies. Wisconsin's bioscience assets include:

  • A comprehensive bioscience research base: clustered around technologies that have the potential to save and improve lives, to clean our water and land, to more efficiently feed the world, and to produce profitable goods and services.
  • A number-3 ranking among all states in total federal research spending on bioscience.
  • A number-6 ranking among public universities in patents awarded in 2003
  • A cutting-edge position in regenerative medicine, personalized medicine, bioinformatics, proteomics, and medical devices.
  • Prominent bioscience research institutions such as UW Madison, Medical College of Wisconsin, and Marshfield Clinic., Marshfield, headline-making expertise in epidemiology, genetics, personalized medicine, food safety, zoonotics, and clinical research, leader in the fight against West Nile virus.

Wisconsin's bioscience industry has become renowned for groundbreaking research. James Thomson, Ph. D., grew stem cells without differentiation in a laboratory culture, opening the door to human applications for human stem cell research. Two of the first three companies in the world to create a test for the SARS virus in early 2003 were Wisconsin firms - Prodesse of Waukesha and EraGen of Madison. The Marshfield Clinic was the first to isolate the "monkeypox" virus in 2003

3. Expand economic dimension of sister-state relationship with Chiba Prefecture
Gov. Doyle and Gov. Akiko Domoto of Chiba Prefecture, Japan, share a vision of expanded relationship between the two sister states based on scientific and business partnerships. Among our areas of mutual interest are biomass technology to meet energy needs, biotechnology partnerships to further life-saving medical discoveries and profitable industrial applications. During the trip, Gov. Doyle and the delegation will hear presentations by WARF and Kazuza DNA Research Institute regarding research exchange in biotechnology and business-academic collaborations. In addition, the two governors will sign policy dialogue agreements to share information on a wide range of domestic policy issues, from economic stimulation to social welfare.

I encourage Wisconsin companies thinking about expanding or beginning an
export effort in Japan to contact the Department of Commerce at 608/266-1480. Let's build on the Governor's efforts to establish increased business between Japan and Wisconsin.

---Cory L. Nettles, Secretary

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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