Cabinet for Economic Development

Press Release Date:  Monday, June 04, 2007  
Contact Information:  Mandy Lambert, (502) 564-7670  

Mission will focus on business recruitment and trade relations


FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher and newly appointed Economic Development Cabinet Secretary John Hindman will depart Tuesday for an economic development trip that will include Japan and China. 


In Japan, the Governor and Secretary will work to establish relationships with businesses considering new investment in Kentucky, and to continue to strengthen relationships with firms that are operating and growing in the commonwealth.  A May 2007 report on Japanese investment in Kentucky shows 148 facilities accounting for 38,452 total jobs.


Kentucky’s foreign-owned investments are at an all-time high, with nearly 370 international companies calling Kentucky home,” said Governor Fletcher.  “This trip will allow us the opportunity to develop new contacts and expand upon our existing relationships in the business community.  I’m also eager to introduce Secretary John Hindman to Kentucky’s business prospects and partners.  His experience in the international market will be a tremendous asset to our state.”


Three new Japanese investments have been announced since the Governor’s last visit to Japan in November 2006:


·        Nifco, a manufacturer of plastic injection molded fasteners for the automotive industry, announced it will construct a 43,000 square-foot facility in Shelbyville.  The operation will bring 151 new jobs to Kentucky with an investment of $15 million.

·        Toyota Boshoku America announced it will locate its North American home office in Erlanger, creating 100 new jobs over the next two years.  The company plans to commence operations in 23,000 square-feet of Class A office space by August 2007.  

·        American Howa Kentucky, Inc. recently broke ground in Bowling Green for an 82,000 square-foot facility located on 24 acres in the Kentucky Transpark. The company will manufacture dash insulators, headliners and other interior products for the automotive industry. With a total projected investment of more than $10 million, the company expects to create approximately 61 new full-time jobs.


The nine-day economic development trip will be the first to Japan for Secretary Hindman, who took over as Economic Development Cabinet secretary June 1. Hindman made multiple trips to China as a former executive with UPS.


“This is an exciting opportunity for me to hit the ground running,” said Secretary Hindman.  “As secretary, I plan to continue and build upon Kentucky’s aggressive strategy to attract foreign investment, as well as increase trade between Kentucky companies and international markets.”


Following Japan, Governor Fletcher and Secretary Hindman will embark on a trade-related visit to China to promote Kentucky’s products and services.   Meetings are scheduled with high-ranking government officials at several key ministries to develop a dialog regarding Kentucky’s expertise in select industry sectors, including coal, mining technology and mine safety, medical devices, animal nutrition and embryonics.


In May 2005, Governor Fletcher met with officials of China’s Ministry of Health to discuss standards issues that effectively excluded Kentucky Bourbon from the Chinese marketplace.  In September 2006, the standard was rewritten to allow the legal importation of Kentucky bourbon.


Since 2001, Kentucky’s exports to mainland China have grown by more than 500 percent to $416 million in 2006.  Recognizing the importance of this rapidly emerging market, Governor Fletcher established the Kentucky China Trade office in Beijing last summer.  The Governor and Secretary will mark the first year anniversary of the office during this year’s trip.  Among the business and government officials expected to attend the anniversary reception is Mr. Wu Xinxiong, the newly appointed Governor of Jiangxi province, with which the commonwealth has had a long established sister-state relationship for more than 20 years.


“We’re making remarkable progress in our international trade efforts, reaching a record level of over $17 billion in total exports in 2006,” added Governor Fletcher.  “The possibilities are endless and we plan to take full advantage of every opportunity.”


In addition to its Japan and China offices, the Cabinet for Economic Development operates representative offices in Europe, South America and Mexico.  For more information regarding the state’s international trade and recruitment efforts, please visit


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The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency in Kentucky responsible for creating new jobs and new investment in the state. New business investment in Kentucky in 2006 totaled more than $3.4 billion with the creation of over 18,500 new jobs. Information on available development sites, workforce training, incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other resources is available at