Deal wraps up trade mission to Asia

Gov. Nathan Deal and a delegation of about 40 government and business representatives wrapped up a weeklong trade and tourism mission to Asia on Thursday with the announcement of three more Japanese companies opening offices in Gwinnett County.

The delegation, which traveled to China and Japan, is expected to return to Georgia on Friday.

Deal’s office announced HAMACO Industries Corp., Okaya USA Inc. and Idaka America Inc. have opened offices in Gwinnett, joining more than 70 Japanese companies that already have operations or offices in the county.

HAMACO, a subsidiary of Hamada Industry Co. Ltd., designs and manufactures material-handling equipment, such as hydraulic foot-operated lift tables and carts. The subsidiary opened an office in the Gwinnett Corporate Center in Norcross.

Okaya, which also opened an office in the Gwinnett Corporate Center, processes, imports and exports iron and steel products.

Idaka America, which has an office in Duluth, distributes machinery and spare parts to the automobile industry.

Georgia opened its first international economic development office in Tokyo in 1973. There are about 350 Japanese companies operating in the state today.

“The more investment we see from Japan, the more we can point to the value of having a business-friendly state,” Deal said in announcing the three new offices.

County officials also hope the presence of the companies near Gwinnett Place will help help revitalize the area, which has struggled in the face of retail and other development in other parts of the county.

“These announcements confirm that the Gwinnett Place area is poised for significant investment and revitalization,” said Joe Allen, executive director of the Gwinnett Place Community Improvement District.

While in Asia, the Georgia delegation visited Shanghai, Qingdao and Jinan in China, and Tokyo, Japan. The Governor’s Office said the state’s economic development operations in Tokyo are responsible for creating more than 20,000 jobs in the state and $4.6 billion in investment.

China is the second-largest export destination for Georgia businesses, with more than $3.6 billion in exports annually, the Governor’s Office said.

Earlier this week, Gwinnett officials announced Beijing-based TravelSky Technology Ltd., an information technology company for the airline and tourism industries, will open a research and development center at Satellite Place in Duluth. The project, which is expected to create 50 jobs, represents a $10 million investment.

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