Cabinet for Economic Development
Governor Beshear, First Lady, Secretary Hayes to Make Economic Development Trip to Japan and China

Press Release Date:  Thursday, October 01, 2009  
Contact Information:  Mandy Lambert (502) 564-7679  

Seven-day trip to focus on economic growth opportunities, trade relations

 and Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games


FRANKFORT, Ky. (October 1, 2009) – In the past two decades, the Far East has become a source of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investment for Kentucky. 

To further cultivate that relationship and explore additional economic opportunities, Gov. Steve Beshear, First Lady Jane Beshear and Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Larry Hayes will depart Saturday for a seven-day economic development trip that will include Japan and China.   

The trip will mark the second visit by Gov. Beshear to Japan and first visit to China as Governor.

“Our national and state economy continues to face significant challenges, even as we are seeing important glimmers of hope,” Gov. Beshear said. “I will go wherever I need to go – whether it’s around the block or around the globe – to aggressively court and recruit high-paying jobs to Kentucky, the kind of jobs that will accelerate our economic recovery.” 

“Given the state of the national economy, trips and investments such as this one are even more important, particularly if we want to expand our economy in the future,” the Governor added. “Asia is a vibrant market filled with companies investing in high-tech and manufacturing interests. They have long looked at Kentucky as a place to invest and trade, and we want to build on that.” 

In Japan, the Governor will work to establish relationships with businesses considering new investments in Kentucky, and to continue to strengthen relationships with firms that are operating and growing in the Commonwealth, such as Toyota Motor Corporation, Hitachi, Ltd. and Akebono Brake Industry Co., Ltd.  A September 2009 report on Japanese Investment in Kentucky shows 154 facilities accounting for 37,358 total jobs.  

Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Kentucky has been the linchpin of much of that growth, beginning with the opening of its first and largest North American production plant in Georgetown, Ky. in 1988. 

Today, Kentucky’s auto industry means more than 73,000 jobs in 432 facilities throughout the Commonwealth. Many of them are suppliers to Toyota, which now has its North American manufacturing headquarters in Northern Kentucky. 

Those successes grew out of early economic development trips to Japan by Gov. Martha Layne Collins and others on behalf of the Commonwealth. 

Following Gov. Beshear’s trip to Japan in 2008, Fuel Total Systems announced plans to locate to Lebanon, Ky., creating 100 new full-time jobs. Other companies the Governor talked with on the economic development trip are continuing to consider a relocation or expansion to the Commonwealth. 

Japan has long been a primary market for recruiting foreign direct investment to the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Beshear.  “Through our decades-long economic partnership, we have established solid, longstanding relationships with hundreds of Japanese companies.  We continually seek to strengthen these ties and build upon our mutual economic interests.” 

Following Japan, Gov. and Mrs. Beshear and Secretary Hayes will depart for China on a trade-related visit.  Since opening the Kentucky China Trade Center in Beijing in 2006, the Commonwealth has worked to develop long-term relationships with Chinese government officials and business leaders throughout China.   

During the trip, the Kentucky delegation will meet with many of these representatives to discuss opportunities for increased cooperation. China today represents one of the fastest growing economies in the world and is a leading trade and economic partner for the United States. 

“It’s critical that Kentucky have an important role as our country develops even closer ties to China. We have a strong foothold in this country now. That role and that relationship need to expand significantly in the coming years,” Gov. Beshear said. “The only way to do that is by cultivating personal relationships with governmental and business leaders face-to-face and one-to-one.” 

Additionally, the Governor and First Lady will bring attention to the 1-Year Countdown to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which are being held in Lexington, Ky., Sept. 25-Oct. 10, 2010.   

“There are already Chinese athletes planning to compete in the Games, and we are hoping to further increase participation by our friends in China – including equestrian athletes, fans and sponsors,” added Gov. Beshear. “We believe that increased participation by China will help promote the development of China’s fast-growing equestrian industry, and provide more opportunities for China and Kentucky to work together.” 

Gov. Beshear will relay information about the economic development trip to Kentuckians and other interested individuals using social media outlets, including his Twitter account:



For more information regarding the state’s international trade and recruitment efforts, visit