Kansas strengthens trade relations by rejoining the Midwest US-Japan Association

Gov. Jeff Colyer recently announced that Kansas will renew its alliance with Japan by rejoining the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association. Colyer met with the Japanese consulate in April to discuss the relationship between Kansas and Japan and feels this partnership will be a good way to strengthen business and agriculture relations.

“Kansas and Japan have historically been and continue to be great partners. It is time to take the next step,” said Governor Colyer, “I am looking forward to strengthening this valuable partnership through our renewed membership in the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association.”

Japan is an important export market for Kansas, traditionally ranking as one of the state’s top trading partners. Based on 2017 data, Japan is Kansas’ third largest export market, totaling $980 million. Kansas has also welcomed investment from Japanese companies such as Kubota, Kyodo Yushi, Takako, Gunze, Softbank, Yanmar, Sekisui and Sumitomo.

“Japan is a very important export market for Kansas, and we are looking forward to continuing our already strong relationship,” said Robert North, interim secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce. “By joining the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association, we will have even more opportunities to work together and explore opportunities for growing our trading partnership.”

The Kansas Department of Agriculture will soon be participating in a USDA-led trade mission to Japan. Japan has been Kansas agriculture’s number two trading partner since 2014 and the goal of the trip is to strengthen the state’s relationship with Japan through this trade mission to Tokyo and Osaka. The trip will provide an opportunity to connect with potential customers and take part in briefings and site visits to learn firsthand about maximizing trade relationships with Japanese businesses.

“Japan continues to be the top export market for U.S. beef. Strengthening ties with this important trading partner is beneficial for Kansas beef producers,” said Kansas Livestock Association Chief Executive Officer Matt Teagarden.

“International trade markets are vital to the state of Kansas and the farmers and ranchers who call it home. Strong relationships with other countries can only help grow opportunities for Kansas farmers and ranchers,” said Kansas Farm Bureau president Richard Felts, a Montgomery County farmer.