Gov. Sanders heading to Asia for second overseas trade mission

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 681 views 

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders said Thursday (Feb. 29) she is headed to Japan and South Korea in March for her second official overseas trade mission.

The governor is expected to stay a full week, March 6-14, for the trade trip in Asia. Her first trade mission took her to Europe for the Paris Air Show last June. Sanders touted several job announcements from that trip, including Dassault Falcon Jet (Little Rock), Walther Manufacturing (Fort Smith), and RTX, formerly Raytheon Corp. (Camden).

“After the success of last summer’s trade mission to Europe, I’m excited to announce that I will be representing Arkansas on my second overseas trade mission, this time in Asia,” Sanders said. “Alongside Commerce Secretary McDonald, Economic Development Commissioner O’Neal, and other state leaders, I’ll meet with Japanese and Korean business executives and government leaders to encourage investment in Arkansas and deepen our state’s connection with America’s Asian allies.”

“With the rising threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party, these relationships have never been more important. Arkansas is making groundbreaking advancements in energy, aerospace, manufacturing, and more. At the same time, my administration is cutting taxes, investing in education, and reducing violent crime. I know all of this will appeal to Asian leaders and businesses and help bring new investment and jobs to our state,” she added.

Arkansas exports goods to Japan and South Korea, including agricultural products, airplanes and paper. Japan is the state’s 7th largest international trade partner with exports topping $161 million in 2022, a 52% decrease in trade from the previous year.

South Korea is Arkansas’ 8th largest international trade partner. In 2022, Arkansas exported more than $141 million in goods to South Korea, a 26% increase in trade from the previous year.

There are also a number of companies from those countries that have invested in Arkansas.

According to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission website, there are more than 20 companies with ties to Japan located in Arkansas. They range from Hino Motors to Nucor-Yamato Steel to Tokusen. Several high-profile Korean companies have operations in Arkansas, including Samsung Corp. and LG Electronics.

Arkansas is home to 524 international employers that employ 34,891 workers, including 26,347 manufacturing workers.

Previous governors, including former Governors Asa Hutchinson and Mike Beebe, have made Asian trade mission trips during their administrations.