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Private Companies are Exporting Kansas Brand and Products at Record Pace

Apr 21, 2023

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Even as Kansas achieves record-breaking, historic economic development success, the state isn’t slowing down. Instead, Kansas is flexing its muscle as a top exporter and the best place for international companies to do business.

Efforts on both fronts feature a strong relationship with Taiwan, with Kansas constantly pursuing more mutually beneficial partnerships — from continued excellence in exported Kansas products such as wheat, soybeans, aircraft and aerospace components, to surging opportunities for Taiwan-based company investment in Kansas.

The Kansas Department of Commerce’s International Division, which was re-energized when Governor Laura Kelly took office, is at the helm of this exciting work.

Members of the International Division recently visited Taiwan to showcase timely business opportunities in Kansas, and especially the ripple effect of the new Panasonic Energy project in De Soto. Panasonic recently broke ground on a $4 billion electric vehicle (EV) battery plant that will create 4,000 new jobs, with another 4,000 projected jobs from regional suppliers.

Jeff Willis, director of the International Division, and April Chiang, International Division project manager at Commerce, were in Taiwan to promote Kansas to companies in the fast-growing electric vehicle (EV), autonomous vehicle (AV) and semiconductor spaces.

Willis and Chiang met with some 60 company representatives in those sectors about opportunities to build upon the Panasonic investment in particular. The exchange at the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) — the U.S. diplomatic center there — produced a number of strong EV-related prospects for Kansas.

The next step will have Governor Kelly join a Commerce contingent next month at the SelectUSA event in Washington, D.C., that will focus on direct foreign investment, with companies from around the globe in attendance.

When pandemic-related supply-chain shortages and country lockdowns fueled interest in reshoring manufacturing to the U.S., Kansas quickly built a worldwide reputation for innovation and distribution solutions. That helped drive significant private investment in EV, semiconductors and other cutting-edge, advanced manufacturing ventures as Panasonic, Kubota and other global companies chose to grow in Kansas. Read about the latest successes here.

Record-shattering levels of economic development since 2019 in Kansas prove Governor Kelly’s call for reinvestment in Commerce’s International Division is working, as the state has announced approximately $15.5 billion in private investment with nearly 56,000 jobs created or retained.

Exports also took off at an impressive clip last year, hitting an all-time high of nearly $14 billion. That was up $1.4 billion, or 11.4 percent, from the year before. Pent-up demand caused by the pandemic led to significant exporting gains in aircraft, vehicle parts and other manufacturing in particular. Kansas’ annual exports topped the average export value of just over $11.2 billion for the five-state region (Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma).

To recognize the best examples of exporting excellence, the Governor honors an Exporter of the Year in Kansas. The awards program organized by the International Division showcases the ingenuity, determination and entrepreneurialism of the state’s great exporters, and how their experiences can inspire other Kansas companies seeking similar success.

Textron Aviation in Wichita, home to the Beechcraft, Cessna and Hawker brands, is the reigning Exporter of the Year for its extraordinary accomplishments in providing customers in more than 170 countries with over 250,000 aircraft. Read their story and more by clicking here.

The International Division also offers year-round webinars on exporting and other current topics and trends in global business. Archived webinar highlights are available here.

For more details on the International Division’s work and accomplishments, please visit

To learn more about Kansas’ award-winning economic development programs, please visit the Kansas Department of Commerce website at