On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis met with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan.
The governor and First Lady discussed business mutual interests and the trade relationship between Florida and Japan. This meeting built upon discussions DeSantis had with leading officials from Japan and key Japanese business leaders during the Southeastern United States – Japan Conference (SEUS Japan) which took place in Florida in November 2022. Florida and Japan have maintained a strategic partnership based on shared values of democracy, human rights and a belief in the free market economy.
“Japan has been a strong trade partner with Florida and I believe that we can work together to create even more opportunities for the future,” said DeSantis. “I was happy to meet with the Prime Minister and his team to build on discussions we had during the SEUS Japan Conference in Florida. I look forward to continuing our prosperous business relationship.”
Japan is Florida’s third largest bilateral trade partner with annual trade surpassing $7.7 billion. Additionally, Florida is home to over 200 Japanese firms which invest billions into the state economy.
In November 2022, Florida hosted the SEUS Japan Conference where the Governor gave the Keynote address. Governor DeSantis also met with Japan’s Ambassador to the United States, Koji Tomita, in addition to key Japanese business leaders. At the conference, the Governor highlighted the potential for Florida’s partnership to grow even further through direct flights between Japan and Florida to enhance people-to-people ties that support tourism and entrepreneurship.
Florida and Japan’s Economic Relationship
Florida serves as a convenient base for Japanese companies wishing to expand into the Southeastern US and into the Latin America and Caribbean region. Japan is the 6th largest foreign investor in Florida, with more than 200 Japanese companies employing more than 22,000 Floridians with holdings totaling more than $5.2 billion. Bilateral trade between Florida and Japan exceeds $6.6 billion annually, making it Florida’s second largest bilateral merchandise trade partner in the Asia-Pacific region and Florida’s seventh largest partner overall.
In 2022, Japan imported approximately $636 million in goods from Florida seaports and airports. Automobiles and related products account for almost 81 percent of all exports from Japan to Florida, with the Port of Jacksonville consistently serving as one of the top three ports for unloading Japanese vehicles for the United States. Additionally, auto parts from Japan are shipped through Florida’s distribution centers to part centers throughout the United States.
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