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    Governor heading to Japan, China and Korea to build business friendships for Michigan

    CONTACTS:
    Sara Wurfel, Governor's Office
    517-335-6397 or  wurfels@michigan.gov

    Kathy Fagan, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
    517-335-3340 or fagank@michigan.org

    Jennifer Holton, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
    517-241-2485 or holtonj@michigan.gov
     
    Friday, Sept. 23, 2011

    LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder will lead a delegation of state, university and local officials and economic developers on a three-country trade mission to Asia that leaves Michigan on Saturday, Sept. 24 and returns Saturday, Oct. 1.

    "There are great opportunities through broadened trade with these fast-growing economies for Michigan businesses and entrepreneurs," Snyder said. "We will be delivering the message that Michigan is more business-friendly than ever and that the quality of life we enjoy here is unmatched. Job providers interested in investing or expanding need to know that Michigan is the place to be. We look forward to establishing productive relationships that complement our nonstop work to energize and reinvent Michigan."

    After arriving in Tokyo on Sunday, Snyder will be a keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Japan Midwest U.S. Association on Monday morning. He will also meet with the governors of two prefectures and participate in a host of private business meetings with senior executives of leading Japanese companies.  Joining him in these discussions will be Michael Finney, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., and Keith Creagh, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

    In addition to the state delegation, local economic development agencies, counties and communities will participate in some or all of the travel, including Automation Alley, Battle Creek Unlimited, the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, Midland Tomorrow, Oakland County, Wayne County, Saginaw Future, along with university participation by Michigan State University and Oakland University. 

    The delegation will fly to Beijing on Tuesday and then to Shanghai on Thursday to meet with senior government officials, executives of some of China's largest companies and a number of Michigan companies that operate there. On Friday, the delegation visits Korea and returns to Michigan the following day.

    As the delegation was preparing to leave for its trade mission, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced a new export incentive program for Michigan companies with fewer than 500 employees.

    The MEDC is launching a state version of the U.S. Small Business Administration's State Trade Export Pilot (STEP) program on Oct. 1. STEP provides direct reimbursements to qualified companies for export-related activities ranging from free or low-cost export training and technical counseling to participation fees for international trade missions.

    Michigan is receiving $1.5 million from the program to increase its export sales as well as expand the number of companies that export and introduce current exporters to new foreign markets and buyers.

    Visit http://www.michiganadvantage.org/Export-Assistance/ for details. Follow the governor on twitter and Facebook as he begins his Asia trip for periodic updates. Twitter account: @onetoughnerd with the hash tag #MiAsiaBiz. Facebook account: Rick Snyder for Michigan.

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