FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Tim Crowe, Communications Director, Governor’s Office, 444-9844
Ronja Abel, Communications Director, Department of Commerce, 594-3954
HELENA – Business and education leaders today joined Governor Steve Bullock as they discussed their goals and objectives for the upcoming trade mission to Taiwan and South Korea. The mission will take place October 23 – 30 and include stops in Taipei, Taiwan, and Seoul, South Korea.
“This trade mission will build ties between Montana businesses and companies and investors in the Asia Pacific market, strengthen our relationships with the people of Taiwan and South Korea, and expand opportunities for education and cultural exchanges,” said Gov. Bullock. “There is enormous potential to make a substantial impact to Montana’s economy by expanding our trade with Asia.”
Taiwan and South Korea are two of Montana’s top trading partners. In 2014, Montana exports to Taiwan and South Korea totaled $249 million. South Korea is Montana’s second largest trading partner, and Taiwan is seventh.
“Marketing and selling Montana products and services abroad is big business. In 2014 alone, exports from Montana brought in over $1.5 billion to the state’s economy, and that number does not even include tourism as an export,” said Montana Department of Commerce Director Meg O’Leary.
With more than 95 percent of the world’s population and 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power outside the United States, future growth and jobs in Montana increasingly depend on expanding international trade and investment opportunities.
Participating businesses include Curtis Pijanowski, Milky Whey; Adam Stern, Resonon; Suresh Daniel, Rocky Mountain Biologicals; Lyndsey Owens, Big Sky Resort, Jamie Lockman, Kamut; Brad Reid, Diversified Plastics; Augusto Bassanini, United Grain; and Errol Rice, Stockgrowers Association.
“I am delighted to participate on this significant mission and pursue opportunities not only for my own business, but to serve as an ambassador for Montana and help market the quality of Montana products as a whole,” said Augusto Bassanini, President of United Grain Corporation.
Clay Christian, Commissioner of Higher Education and Dr. Abraham Kim, Executive Director of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center, will accompany the delegation and pursue opportunities to expand education and cultural exchange.
"This trade mission is a great opportunity for our universities to help our state open doors to new markets for Montana business and industry,” said Commissioner Christian. “We will be forging international partnerships to promote Montana as a rewarding destination to learn, explore, and access world-class products and services."
Governor Bullock, Director O’Leary, and Commissioner Christian will participate in meetings with Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Education, and Agriculture in each country and participate in several seminars designed to promote and market Montana.
With the help of the U.S. Commercial Service, participating businesses have arranged meetings with prospective customers and investors who have expressed interest in their respective industries. Participants are responsible for individual trip expenses.