Gov. Ritter and Colorado Delegation return home from Asia economic mission
NOV. 26, 2008 – Gov. Bill Ritter and a 40-member business delegation have returned home to Colorado optimistic and encouraged following a 10-day economic-development mission to Japan and China.
The mission focused on creating new jobs in Colorado, new business and investment opportunities for Colorado companies, securing a daily non-stop flight from Denver to Tokyo, and strengthening ties between research universities in Colorado and Asia.
“We return home with much optimism and much hope for short-term successes, particularly in the areas of the New Energy Economy and the biosciences,” Gov. Ritter said. “I’m also confident we will have a Denver-to-Tokyo direct flight sooner rather than later. But the most important achievement is that we have taken a crucial step forward in what must be a long-term, persistent and consistent approach to economic development in Asian markets.
“While the U.S. economy continues to struggle, it is more important than ever for Colorado to be aggressive when it comes to marketing, promoting and developing our economy,” Gov. Ritter said. “We must keep looking for ways to create new jobs, new investments and new opportunities. That’s what this mission was about.”
“We found several areas of opportunity and a tremendous sense of common economic interests, particularly in the areas of air travel, the New Energy Economy and biosciences,” said Don Elliman, director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. “Every time renewable energy came up, you could see the lights go on on the other side of the table.”
“This is a competitive world, and if we are going to create jobs in the U.S. and in Colorado, now is the time for us to be dealing with these foreign markets,” said Joe Blake, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. “We left Asia with great hope and great expectations.”
“The next spoke in the wheel for Denver International Airport to be a world-class airport is a direct flight from Denver to the Asian markets, and Tokyo is the gateway to Asia,” said Denver City Councilman Michael Hancock. “This was a very positive trip. I’m very optimistic we could see a direct flight as early as 2010, and that would mean a $100 million to $150 million economic benefit to Denver.”
- Mission overview: November 15-25 economic-development and trade mission to Tokyo, Yamagata, Beijing and Shanghai, focusing on renewable energy, bioscience, tourism and securing a non-stop daily Denver-Tokyo flight.
- Mission purpose: Create new jobs in Colorado for Colorado employees, create new economic and market opportunities for Colorado businesses, attract new investments to Colorado, and strengthen ties between Colorado and Asian universities.
- Mission participants: Gov. Ritter and 40 leaders from state and local governments, economic development organizations, private businesses, and research universities (University of Colorado, Colorado State University and Colorado School of Mines).
- Gov. Ritter participated in nearly 45 meetings, seminars, speeches, media interviews and other events with government officials, private business executives, economic-development leaders, university officials and others.
- Elevated Colorado’s profile in Japan and China as a national and international leader in renewable energy and biosciences and as an attractive tourism destination.
- Promoted Colorado in meetings with Japan- and China-based companies considering new or expanded North American operations in the New Energy Economy and other sectors.
- Identified opportunities for Colorado businesses in a wide variety of fields, including: the development of renewable energy, biofuels and clean-coal technologies; exports of beef, agricultural and other food products; exports of medical devices and pharmaceuticals; development of bio-technologies; and environmental remediation and infrastructure renewal.
- Introduced Asian renewable energy companies, investors, university researchers and government laboratories to the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory, which is researching and developing innovative new-energy technologies.
- Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce signed a cooperative agreement with the Beijing Chamber of Commerce to promote and encourage new business and investment opportunities for members of both chambers
- Opened the door to establishing a formal Investment Promotion Agreement between Colorado and China.
- Met with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, China Chamber of International Commerce, American Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations, discussing several opportunities, including the possibility of Chinese investments in new hotel projects in Colorado.
- Held successful meetings with All Nippon Airways (ANA), Narita International Airport and Boeing executives in hopes of securing a daily non-stop Denver-Tokyo flight as early as 2010. ANA officials said they will visit Denver in 2009 to continue discussions, and an “Ascent to Asia” delegation from Colorado also will return to Asia in 2009. Every company Gov. Ritter met with in Tokyo expressed strong support for the flight.
- Promoted Colorado as a unique Western American destination for Asian tourist and business travelers.
- Held productive discussions with the Japanese Bio-industry Association to foster partnerships between Japanese and Colorado bio-industry companies.
- Re-affirmed Colorado’s sister-state relationship with the Japanese prefecture of Yamagata. Identified several new business, economic-development, tourism and shared research opportunities, as well as opportunities regarding the development of geothermal resources and addressing the pine beetle epidemic impacting Japan and Colorado.
- Gov. Ritter took part in signing ceremonies for Memoranda of Understandings between Colorado State University and: Gifu University and the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Japan to create a global Center for Environmental Medicine; China Institute for Water Resources and Hydropower Research for joint research and scientist exchange; East China Normal University to expand areas of faculty research collaboration and student exchange in the areas of clean energy, global environmental sustainability, geosciences, engineering, education and business.
- Identified opportunities for all Colorado research universities to educate Chinese and Japanese students, particularly in information technology, engineering and the life sciences. Japan is currently in need of 500,000 IT engineers.
- Conducted site visits to: The Beijing Olympic complex as Denver eyes a possible bid for the 2018 Games; Beijing Urban Planning Exhibition Hall for ideas and discussions about land-use and transportation planning in Denver, including the possibility of creating a scaled model of Colorado for public display at Denver International Airport.
- Took part in signing of investment agreement between two Colorado companies (Shan Atira Asia Ventures of Denver and Top of Asia of Englewood) and Beijing Civil Aviation Sinosky.
Colorado Office of Economic Development of International Trade, Denver International Airport, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Denver Metro Economic Development Corp., Colorado Tourism Office, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Governor’s Energy Office, Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory, Colorado State University, University of Colorado, Colorado School of Mines, Upstate Colorado Economic Development, Aurora Economic Development Council, South Metro Chamber of Commerce, Northern Colorado Economic Development Corp., Cap Logistics, Executive Forum, Opus Northwest, Health One Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center, Saunders Construction, Jeppesen, Inviragen, Hogan and Hartson, Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons, and Shan Atira Asian Ventures.
TRADING AND EXPORTING
Japan is Colorado’s fourth-largest export market, with 2007 exports to Japan totaling $359 million. Leading 2007 export categories included medical and scientific instruments, up more than 54 percent to $98 million; meat and meat products, up 164 percent to $63 million; and industrial machinery, $55 million.
China overtook Japan as Colorado’s third-largest export market in 2006. The state's exports to China last year totaled $488 million. Important export commodities in 2007 included electrical machinery, $96 million; base metal and cermets, up 45 percent from the previous year to $93 million; and medical and scientific instruments, $73 million.