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  • Chamber's International Business Council Welcomes New Japanese Consul-General

    by Lori Odom | May 06, 2015
    The Chamber welcomes Masami Kinefuchi, newly appointed consul-general of Japan, to Nashville! Consul-General Kinefuchi arrived in Music City in late April and has already begun meeting and greeting state and local leadership. He assumes the role held by Motohiko Kato, who was reassigned to the Japanese Embassy in London following two and a half years in Nashville.

    Kinefuchi’s career has spanned multiple posts and positions within Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including high-ranking roles at embassies in Canada, Australia, Pakistan and Egypt. His most recent posting was as assistant vice minister of justice in Tokyo, serving as deputy director-general for the Immigration Bureau.

    Kinefuchi is a graduate of the National Defense Academy of Japan, and holds advanced degrees from the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

    The Consulate-General of Japan in Nashville has jurisdiction over five states – Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. The office provides consular services to Japanese nationals, as well as cultural and educational outreach, and encourages deeper economic relationships between Japan and the U.S. Japan is Middle Tennessee’s largest foreign investor nation, with approximately 65 companies employing more than 15,000 people. The Chamber's International Business Council looks forward to continuing our close ...

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  • Cherry Blossoms, Exporting to Europe and More International Happenings in Nashville

    by Lori Odom | Apr 09, 2015

    International events and opportunities are abundant in Middle Tennessee over the next few weeks. Here’s a sampling of what’s in store.  

    Celebrate Japanese cultural connections at this Saturday’s Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival. This family-friendly, free event features more than 20 food trucks and Japanese food vendors; shopping; and cultural lectures and displays, along with taiko drummers and a day packed full of entertainment. The weather promises to be beautiful, and free parking is available at LP Field – check it out!

    Joining this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival will be a delegation from Nashville’s sister city of Kamakura, Japan. This group has embraced the cultural side of the relationship by forming the Nashville-Kamakura Friendship Band, who will perform on the main stage at 10:35 a.m. If you are interested in learning more about the Kamakura-Nashville exchange, check out Sister Cities of Nashville.

    Closing out the weekend on Sunday, April 12, is “Blossoms and Brews,” a celebration of spring, cherry blossoms, Japanese culture and local delicious beer. Presented by JAST Young Professionals, the event takes place at Yazoo Brewery from 2 to 5 p.m.

    On Wednesday, April 15, Lipscomb University will host Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former secretary general of NATO, at ...

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  • White House Official Visits Nashville Region to Discuss Impact of Trade

    by Lori Odom | Mar 19, 2015
    I recently joined Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper and Jerry Abramson, director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, for a tour of Goodlettsville-based manufacturer Des-Case and a discussion of how exports to overseas markets promote U.S. job growth.

    The Des-Case visit comes as President Obama is proposing expanded trade promotion authority to three of America’s top four export markets: Canada, Mexico and the U.K. The White House is also asking Congress to approve new trade agreements with the European Union and 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Des-Case has collaborated with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Nashville Export Assistance Center to expand its reach to markets in Central and South America, and, more recently, to Australia and the Philippines.

    Nashville is among the top 40 exporting metro areas in the U.S., exporting nearly $9 billion of locally produced goods around the globe. The Nashville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) saw exports grow by more than 35 percent from 2012 to 2013, the most recent year for available statistics. More than 1,600 companies in the Nashville MSA are exporters of products or services to foreign markets; 82 percent of those are classified as small or ...
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  • Proposed Transatlantic Trade Agreement a 'Game-Changer'

    by Lori Odom | Feb 25, 2015
    The EU and U.S. economies combined represent half the world's global GDP, and the two economies have long enjoyed a mutually beneficial trade relationship. On Feb. 25, members of our International Business Council heard from an expert panel about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and its implications on the global economy.

    TTIP is a proposed comprehensive free trade agreement between the U.S. and the 28 member states of the European Union. Guest panelists Klint Alexander, of Baker Donelson's Global Business Team; Consuls General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Christoph Sander of Germany; and David Short, FedEx Express, described TTIP as a "game-changer" that will level the playing field for U.S. and EU businesses.

    The agreement seeks to streamline the trading process between the two global economic giants by reducing or eliminating tariffs and harmonizing regulatory standards for health and safety -- both of which currently create bureaucratic costs that are passed along to consumers. Our experts predicted that the successful negotiation of TTIP will usher in a new era in transatlantic relations, and would also increase exports, create jobs, boost production and grow the economies of all the nations involved.

    If successful, TTIP can ...
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  • Take Your Business Global With Free Exporting Advice

    by Lori Odom | Jan 26, 2015
    Did you know that 96 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States, and that 70 percent of the world’s purchasing power is outside the U.S.?

    Exporting is an excellent way to grow your small or midsized business. If there is a market for your product in the U.S., there is definitely a market for your product overseas. Going global can only grow your market and increase its receptivity. Getting involved internationally decreases your business’ sole reliance on the American economy, thereby increasing opportunity for longevity and stability. As trade grows exponentially and trade barriers fall, staying domestic means missing opportunities.

    TNTrade provides free services to help Tennessee businesses expand internationally. Since 2012, the state-run program has helped more than 200 businesses connect with companies in Mexico, the UK, the EU and China. With the support of in-state export specialists and foreign offices, a company can receive one set of services from up to two different markets per year. These can include market checks, market strategies, market entry requirements, business partner searches, and trade events and travel assistance. The best part? These services are offered at no cost to you.

    To make exporting easy for Tennessee businesses, ...
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  • Foreign Diplomats to Highlight U.S.-EU Trade Relations

    by Lori Odom | Jan 20, 2015
    Fact of the day: The U.S. and EU economies together account for nearly half of global GDP and about one-third of all international trade. This translates to $2.7 billion in goods and services flowing each day and $4 trillion invested in each other's economies, supporting more than 13 million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

    The proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is an ambitious, comprehensive and high-standard trade and investment agreement being negotiated between the U.S. and the EU. The successful negotiation of the new TTIP is projected to create a market force of 800 million consumers and the potential for billions of dollars in new exports and thousands of new jobs in the United States and Europe, helping not just large companies and workers, but the small and medium enterprises that make up the backbone of both economies.

    The Chamber's International Business Council, in partnership with Baker Donelson, invites you to learn more about TTIP on Wednesday, Feb. 25, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. A panel discussion featuring Great Britain and Northern Ireland Consul General Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford and Consul General Christoph Sander of Germany will highlight U.S. and EU trade relations and offer an update on TTIP. For ...
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  • Hong Kong Economic and Trade Officials Visit Nashville

    by Lori Odom | Nov 14, 2014
    Steve Barclay, director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO), made his first trip to Nashville this week. Based in New York, he is responsible for promoting and strengthening the business, trade and cultural ties between Hong Kong and 31 eastern states of the United States.

    Barclay was appointed in August of this year. He has served in a wide variety of posts within the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, with policy responsibilities including consumer protection, intellectual property, housing and environmental protection. Most recently, Barclay served as director of the HKETO in Sydney, Australia.

    Along with meeting Chamber leadership, Barclay’s visit to Nashville included attending the Governor’s Conference on Economic and Community Development and speaking engagements at Vanderbilt and Lipscomb.

    Hong Kong-owned companies account for approximately 200 jobs in the Nashville MSA and a state trade relationship valued at more than $292 million.

    L-R: Gene Hanratty of the Hong Kong Information Center Atlanta and Steve Barclay

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  • Tennessee Tops the Nation for 2013 Foreign Direct Investment Job Commitments

    by Lori Odom | Nov 04, 2014
    In 2013, Tennessee received more job commitments from foreign-owned companies than any other state in the nation. Take a minute and let that sink in. Nearly 40 percent of new jobs committed to Tennessee last year came from companies with foreign ownership – the same statistic applying to announced jobs in the Nashville area for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. To put some examples behind that stat, remember this short list of investments from 2013: South Korean-owned Hankook Tire Co., Swiss-owned UBS and Japanese-owned Calsonic Kansei North America accounted for 4,000 total job commitments and more than $946 million in capital investment.

    The ability to generate international investment is a sign of vitality and confidence in a region’s performance. Workforce, location, transportation, regulatory environment, incentive programs, and strong supplier and customer networks are all essential components of attracting global investment. Starting with Ireland’s The Trane Company in the 1960s, to Japan’s Toshiba in the 1970s, Bridgestone and Nissan in the 1980s, U.K’s Willis in the 1990s and on through the investments of recent years, the Nashville region has successfully proven to be a strong draw for foreign investors.

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  • Foreign Direct Investment Continues to Impact Middle Tennessee's Economy

    by Blewett McInteer | Oct 02, 2014
    At yesterday's Annual Meeting, we were excited to share the results of an outstanding year for our economic development efforts. Foreign direct investment played a major role in our region's strong economic performance in the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Twenty-four percent of our 121 corporate relocations and expansions were from foreign-owned companies, creating 7,723 new jobs and accounting for 40 percent of the total job creation in the region. More than 265 foreign-owned firm locations employ more than 37,000 people in Middle Tennessee.

    The Nashville area exported $8.7 billion in 2013, a 35 percent increase over 2012. With strong trade relationships with countries such as Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and Japan, Tennessee remains the 14th-ranked U.S. state for exports -- especially impressive for a state with no coastline.

    Foreign-owned relocation highlights:
    Beretta – 300 new jobs, Italy
    Hankook Tire – 1,800 new jobs, Korea
    Schwan Cosmetics USA – 250 new jobs, Germany

    Foreign-owned expansion highlights:
    ABC Group Fuel Systems Inc. – 200 new jobs, Canada
    Electrolux – 466 new jobs, Sweden
    UBS – 1,000 new jobs, Switzerland
    Unipres – 880 new jobs, Japan

    This graphic from our 2013-2014 Annual Report shows the significant impact foreign direct investment has on Middle Tennessee's ...
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  • Trade Delegation Strengthens Tennessee-Japan Relationships

    by Blewett McInteer | Sep 25, 2014
    Nashville adds Kamakura, Japan, as newest Sister City

    Earlier this month, Tennessee Economic and Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty led a state delegation of 40 representatives to the 37th Annual Joint Meeting of the Southeast-U.S./Japan and Japan-U.S. Southeast Associations. The meeting helped strengthen the economic relationships between Japan and the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Japan is the largest foreign trading partner for the majority of these states, including Tennessee.

    The Nashville area is home to many Japanese businesses, including Bridgestone Americas Inc. and Nissan. Japanese companies invest more in Tennessee than any other state except California.

    As part of the visit to Japan, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Kamakura Mayor Takashi Matsuo signed a Sister Cities treaty to officially join Nashville and Kamakura as partners and formally solidify the two cities’ longstanding relationship.

    Kamakura, located about 30 miles southwest of Tokyo, is Nashville’s eighth international partner city. Nashville has long enjoyed strong ties with Kamakura and the country of Japan due to trade relationships and the Japanese Consulate, which was established in Nashville in 2008. A Nashville delegation made its first visit to Kamakura in 2009.

    The signing of the Sister Cities treaty, ...
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