Gov. Bill Ritter announced today that 40 Colorado business, economic-development and research leaders will travel with him to Japan andChina later this month to encourage new business and investment opportunities that will bring long-term benefits to Colorado's economy.
"With the national and international economies in distress, now more than ever Colorado must be aggressive about economic and business development," Gov. Ritter said. "We must continue to position Colorado so that when the economy rebounds we are leading the economic recovery.
"Colorado is no longer just competing against neighboring states for new jobs and new companies," Gov. Ritter said. "This is now a global economy, and we must invest in international strategies today to realize a profitable return on our investments in the years ahead.
"This economic-development mission will allow Colorado to showcase many of our strengths, including Colorado's New Energy Economy and our achievements in the research and development of new solar, wind and biofuel technologies," Gov. Ritter said. "The mission also will highlight our bioscience, technology and tourism sectors, and create new opportunities for Colorado companies to build sales and expand into new markets."
The delegation departs Colorado Nov. 15 and returns Nov. 25. Delegation members will meet with key business and government officials inTokyo, Beijing and Shanghai. The mission is part of a multi-year strategy to establish long-term business relationships and cultivate business and investment leads. Among the mission's main goals:
· Promoting a daily nonstop Denver-to-Tokyo flight with All Nippon Airways to accommodate increased business and tourism travel.
· Encouraging Asian participation and investment in Colorado's New Energy Economy, with presentations by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory and state universities.
· Promoting Colorado's bioscience and technology sectors.
· Signing a Memorandum of Understanding between Colorado State University and two Japanese institutions to create a new Center for Environmental Medicine at CSU, which will boast a global faculty, including professors and researchers from Japan.
"This mission is the culmination of the first year of what will be a multi-year strategy to increase our trade and presence in Asia," said Tom Clark, executive vice president of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. "To be successful in the Asian market requires patience, commitment and repetition." The Metro Denver EDC, Denver International Airport and the tourism industry launched a new campaign earlier this year – called Ascent to Asia – to secure and support nonstop service between Denver and Tokyo. Over the past 13 months, economic-development officials have made three other trips to Japan to work on securing a new flight. "The governor's economic development mission to Japan and China will provide an important boost to DIA's efforts to secure a nonstop flight between Denver and Tokyo," said Kim Day, DIA's manager of aviation. "Although this is a long-term process, the governor's support will ensure that Denver and Colorado remain visible in the Japanese market." CSU's new Center for Environmental Medicine also will play an important role during the trip. "The mission of Colorado State University's Center for Environmental Medicine to protect the health of people, animals and the larger ecosystem of the planet from pollution and toxins is critical in today's global marketplace," said CSU Interim President Tony Frank. "This unique center will play a crucial role in educating businesses and bringing together government agencies to better agree on and monitor health and safety product standards. It also will provide tomorrow's environmental health leaders with one-of-a-kind international experiences." Japan is Colorado's fourth-largest export market, with 2007 exports to Japan totaling $359 million. Leading 2007 export categories included medical and scientific instruments, up more than 54 percent to $98 million; meat and meat products, up 164 percent to $63 million; and industrial machinery, $55 million. China overtook Japan as Colorado's third-largest export market in 2006. The state's exports to China last year totaled $488 million. Important export commodities in 2007 included electrical machinery, $96 million; base metal and cermets, up 45 percent from the previous year to $93 million; and medical and scientific instruments, $73 million.
Mission sponsors include: Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., Cap Logistics, Health One, Hogan & Hartson, Faegre & Benson,Denver International Airport, Ascent to Asia, the Colorado Tourism Office, Jeppesen, Rothgerber Johnson and Lyons, and Shan Atira Asian Ventures.
Mission participants include: Colorado Office of Economic Development of International Trade, Denver International Airport, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Denver Metro Economic Development Corp., NREL, Governor's Energy Office, the Collaboratory, CSU, Colorado School of Mines, Upstate Colorado Economic Development, Aurora Economic Development Council, South Metro Chamber of Commerce, Northern Colorado Economic Development Corp., Cap Logistics, Executive Forum, Opus Northwest, Health One Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center, Saunders Construction, Jeppesen, Inviragen, Hogan and Hartson, Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons, and Shan Atira Asian Ventures.