Pawlenty plans trip to China, Japan

Gov. Tim Pawlenty will lead a trade mission to China and Japan in September.

Pawlenty said on his weekly radio program this morning that he will announce details this afternoon, but that the trip is designed to boost Minnesota exports.

He said it’s a great opportunity for Minnesota businesses to learn more about exporting their products.

Anticipating criticism over the cost of the trip Pawlenty noted that the business people going will pay their own way, and he said his travel costs will not come from the state’s general fund.

Update:

Here’s the press release:

Saint Paul – Governor Tim Pawlenty will lead a trade mission to China and Japan this fall to help Minnesota companies increase exports, build strategic relationships, and explore new business opportunities.

The mission takes place September 9-18 and includes stops in Shanghai and Beijing, China and Tokyo and Osaka, Japan for meetings with business leaders and government officials, presentations by market and industry leaders, networking activities and business site visits. The delegation will also travel to Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi Province. Minnesota has had a sister-state agreement with Shaanxi Province since 1982.

The economies of Japan and China rank second and third, respectively, behind the United States as the largest national economies in the world.

“China and Japan have dynamic economies that provide significant opportunities for Minnesota businesses interested in increasing their exports,” Governor Pawlenty said. “We’re looking forward to building on the relationships established through the Minnesota-China Partnership and making new connections in Japan.”

The Minnesota-China Partnership, announced by Governor Pawlenty in 2005, engages public and private organizations throughout the state to promote trade and investment, science and academia, arts and culture, and friendship and humanitarian endeavors.

“China and Japan are important marketplaces for Minnesota companies,” said Ed Dieter, Minnesota Trade Office acting director. “Japan has long offered excellent markets for Minnesota products, and any company doing business internationally should consider China’s tremendous and continuing growth.”

China buys more Minnesota manufactured goods than any country after Canada, importing more than $1 billion of Minnesota products every year since 2005. Top exports to China include machinery, including electrical machinery, medical instruments and plastics.

Japan also offers a wide variety of opportunities. Minnesota’s most important exports to Japan include medical instruments, electrical and other machinery, food, grain and other agricultural commodities.

In the fourth quarter of 2009, Minnesota exports increased to four of our state’s top ten trading markets, including China ($363 million, up 19 percent) and Japan ($226 million, up 6 percent). Korea ($129 million, up 20 percent) and Australia ($112 million, up 31 percent) were the other two markets in the top ten that showed an increase.

The trade mission is being coordinated by the Minnesota Trade Office (MTO). Those interested in applying to join the trade delegation should contact Li King Feng, 651-259-7484 or li.king.feng@state.mn.us, or Jennifer Kocs, 651-259-7488 or jennifer.kocs@state.mn.us. MTO is focused on increasing state export sales in foreign markets. MTO promotes international trade by providing export information, export education and training, and counseling to Minnesota companies that wish to sell goods and services in the international marketplace. More information is online at www.exportminnesota.com.

Governor Pawlenty has led previous trade missions to Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, India, Israel and Poland. Delegation members pay their own expenses. Expenses incurred by the Governor’s office for this trade mission will be paid from trade mission participant funds, not taxpayer funds.