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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Al Pisano

January 28, 2016

By Sean Barr, senior vice president of economic development

Greetings from Tokyo, Japan. This week, behind a newly relaunched World Trade Center San Diego, EDC kicks off its 2016 international program. Our goals are clear – grow exports and position the region as a choice location for investment and science and technology partnerships.  

I am here in Tokyo the next few days with the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego. From day one, we were met with great enthusiasm for expanded partnerships with the University of Tokyo, University of Osaka, and private industry leaders such as Mitsui, Honda and the Japan Venture Capital Association, to name a few.

Japan represents San Diego's largest trade and investment market, making the relationship key to our economic growth. Tokyo alone accounts for nearly 25 percent of all foreign owned establishments in the region. With operations in San Diego, Japanese companies such as Kyocera International, Sony, Ajinomoto, and Takeda are some of the most active and community-minded companies, employing hundreds of San Diegans. Japan leads the way as an export market, consistently ranking among the top five most important markets for San Diego. From water technology, to microelectronics, to tourism, to telecommunications to renewable energy and craft beer, Japan punches way above its weight in the consumption of San Diego products and services. 

The relationship, however, is not one-sided. A number of organizations in San Diego have long recognized the importance of Japan to our economy, with some committing to a fulltime presence abroad, including Biocom, the San Diego Tourism Authority, the San Diego International Airport, the Port of San Diego, SDSU and of course, UC San Diego. We are looking to build on, amplify and support their work to advance the region's trade interests. 

Leading with our universities and science and engineering talent, San Diego is successfully attracting attention to our global innovation economy. In partnership with Al Pisano, Dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego, EDC co-hosted a symposium this week for more than 30 Japanese investors. As investors traveled from Osaka, Kyoto, and throughout Tokyo to attend, it was evident that San Diego’s technology and engineering prowess has garnered global attention, with many inquiring about the region’s business climate and international presence.

 

The global outreach continues next week, through the end of April, and beyond. Next stop: Tokyo (return visit), Nagoya, Osaka, Auckland, Sydney, London, Toulon and Stockholm. We will certainly keep you updated from the road.