International Partnerships Help Grow Kansas

Sep 20, 2019

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Our trading partners around the world play a big role in helping grow the Kansas economy. Increasing our state’s international footprint has been a large priority for Governor Kelly and is a key component to our vision for the Department of Commerce.

Here’s why:

Investment from foreign companies into Kansas has created thousands of jobs in our state, and exporting abroad allows Kansas businesses to reach new customers and create new opportunities. Our team at the Department of Commerce plays a role in generating both types of economic activity, through International Business Recruitment that encourages companies overseas to expand into Kansas and Export Services that help Kansas companies engage markets overseas and ship Kansas-made products around the world.

These reciprocal relationships are good for both sides of the international exchange. And, overall, relationships are key to generating leads and making this economic growth possible.

Given the importance of relationships, it is critical that our state maintain a presence in areas across the country and around the world where we want to engage and do business. At the height of our international capacity, Kansas had business recruiters located in 7 different countries, in addition to coordination out of our Topeka office. Today, we have international recruitment staff located only in Topeka and one recruiter stationed in Mexico City. Governor Kelly has placed a high priority on reengaging abroad and rebuilding our state’s “sales force” around the world.

I’m pleased to share that our agency has recently engaged with two important trading partners over the past few weeks: Japan and Taiwan.

Earlier this month, I spent time with members of our International Business Recruitment team on a trade mission to Japan. I engaged with several of the companies that invest in Kansas and attended regional events to help grow our state’s relationships with Japan.

Prior to this trip, it had been six years since officials from Kansas paid a visit to our key trading partners in Japan. That is no way to treat your friends, and it is no way to run a railroad.

In the past 24 months, 15 Japanese firms have invested more than $240 Million in Kansas. On the export front, Japan is the third largest international market for Kansas products, with a total of $1 Billion in exports in 2018 alone.

Check out some photos from our time in Japan:

Last week, a delegation from Taiwan visited Topeka to strengthen and celebrate a successful partnership in economic exchange.

For years, Taiwan has been in the top 10 percent of overseas markets for Kansas’ agricultural business, and they’re the sixth largest export market for U.S. beef. Over the past six years, Kansas has exported more than $540 million in meat products to Taiwan. Kansas beef is celebrated as some of the highest-quality, safest beef in the world, so it’s fitting that the Goodwill Mission’s Meat Delegation have selected Kansas as the place to commit to continuing to purchase meat products from the United States.

Governor Kelly was joined by representatives from Commerce, Kansas Department of Agriculture and the Kansas Livestock Association, who were on hand to celebrate the signing of a joint letter of intent. This letter solidified an agreement for Taiwan to purchase meats from the U.S. and from Kansas.

Again, relationships are key to successful trade partnerships. These recent opportunities to strengthen international economic relationships are an example of the type of work that is central to our mission at the Department of Commerce.

We appreciate every opportunity we get to showcase the investment opportunities in our state and the wonderful products and services that Kansas companies can provide to people around the world. And growing these international engagement opportunities will be a key priority as we work to restore the Department of Commerce to a “best in class” agency. We plan to grow our team, grow our relationships and grow the Kansas economy into the future.

Ad Astra Per Aspera,

-DT