Commissioner-elect Steve Taylor and Executive Director of the Cartersville-Bartow County Department of Economic Development Melinda Lemmon left Friday to meet with industry leaders and economic development officials from Tokyo, Osaka and throughout Japan.
Lemmon updated the Cartersville-Bartow County Joint Development Authority Tuesday at the last regular meeting before their departure. Taylor was slated to attend before the election as a representative of the Bartow County Development Authority. He also serves as secretary on the JDA.
“Steve and I will be delegates for this authority and the Bartow authority,” Lemmon said. “[Taylor] will be representing the Bartow authority as their chairman and that title carries a lot of weight over there, but it’s also exciting to say that our commissioner-elect will be there too.
“We are going to visit as many existing Bartow County companies as we can, but we will also be meeting with some site selectors and hopefully we’ll bring back some new projects.”
Attending alongside Taylor and Lemmon will be Gov. Nathan Deal. His office released a statement Thursday on the event.
“The SEUS/Japan Association was chartered in 1975 to promote trade, investment, understanding and friendship between Japan and U.S. member states that include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Georgia is a charter member of this alliance between Japan and the U.S. Southeastern states. This annual meeting typically attracts upwards of 500 government officials and top business leaders,” stated the press release. “Total trade (imports and exports) between Georgia and Japan is $5.37 billion, ranking Japan as Georgia’s sixth-largest global trade partner. In 2011, imports from Japan passed $4 billion for the first time in the history of the trade relationship between Georgia and Japan, making the country Georgia’s fifth-largest import market. Primary imports from Japan include motor vehicle parts, heavy construction machinery, tractors and engines.
“The state exports $1.22 billion in products to Japan, with top exports including aircraft, wood pulp, Kaolin, medical-related instruments and pharmaceutical products. Georgia is also a national leader in the export of other goods to Japan, including wood pulp [first], textiles and floor covering [first], articles of stone plaster, cement and mica [second], and paper and paperboard [third].”
There are six Japanese companies with facilities in Bartow: Komatsu, Ohno, Sakai, Sekisui Jushi, Toyo Tire and Komatsu.