South Carolina’s economic ties with Japan on display as conference begins

Joint meeting of Japanese-Southeastern United States business associations taking place in Greenville, S.C.

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The 40th Annual Joint Meeting of the Southeast United States (SEUS)-Japan Association and the Japan-United States Southeast Association commenced today with an opening ceremony at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Greenville, S.C. Although the conference is closed to the general public, it’s occurrence is significant because it brings together many political and business leaders from around the Southeastern United States and Japan.

“Team South Carolina is pleased to host the 40th annual joint meeting of these two prestigious groups,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “Providing us with a unique opportunity to showcase our great state and all that it has to offer, this conference and our participation in the SEUS-Japan Association allow us to continue strengthening relationships with one of South Carolina’s top economic partners.”

Since 2011, Japanese-owned firms have announced more than $3.4 billion in capital investment in South Carolina, bringing 3,200 new jobs to the state. And, on top of that, Japan accounted for more than $1.1 billion of South Carolina’s export sales total last year.

Aimed at promoting mutual ties of investment, trade education, tourism and friendly relations between Japan and the Southeastern United States, the SEUS-Japan Association is comprised of seven member states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Participating in today’s opening ceremony were South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster; South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt; SEUS-Japan Association Chairman Minor Shaw; Japan-United States Southeast Association Chairman Teruo Asada; and, James Zumwalt, Sasakawa USA Chief Executive Officer and former United States Ambassador to the Republic of Senegal and the Republic of Guinea Bissau. The heads of delegation from the six other SEUS-Japan member states also participated.

For a photo gallery of images from this morning’s opening ceremony, visit the S.C. Commerce flickr page here.