Trade Mission Underscores DFW’s Strong Relations with Japan

Sarah Carabias-Rush, Senior Vice President, Economic Development & International Engagement

Texas is the new focal point of the U.S. This is how Atsushi Nakayama, commentator from Japan’s celebrated financial newspaper The Nikkei, describes the Lone Star state. This past summer, he reached out to the Dallas Regional Chamber for a column that explores why so many companies have moved from California to Texas and – more specifically – why Japanese companies are locating and investing in the Dallas Region.

Nakayama is right. The economic and business ties between Dallas-Fort Worth and Japan are stronger than ever, and it’s important to keep that momentum going. Last month, I joined a trade mission to Japan, led by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and attended by 14 representatives from economic development organizations across the state. The trip highlighted the growing bond between Texas and Japan.

In Japan, building mutual trust and long-term relationships is critical. To build those partnerships, the delegation engaged with 23 DFW area companies in the six days we spent in Japan. Meetings took place involving Toyota, Japan Central Railway, and Texas Central, as well as Kubota and Teijin. Japan-based companies with operations in Dallas-Fort Worth and throughout Texas, such as Hitachi, Mitsubishi, and Tokyo Electron, also took part in meetings. Of these companies, Teijin is the only one that does not yet have a presence in the Dallas Region.

Over lunch, receptions, and other events, I connected with leaders from 7-Eleven, Bell Textron, Fujitsu, HIOKI, Mitsui & Co., NEC Corporation, NTT Data, OKI, Toshiba Corporation, and Yamaha Motor. I also reconnected with my contacts at Mizuho Bank, MUFG, and SMBC banks.

We had a unique opportunity to ride the newest Shinkansen train, the same model slated to be used for the high-speed rail that will connect Dallas and Houston by 2025. The N700S is not yet in commercial operation, and it was so fun to be the only passengers onboard – we likely were the first Texans.

Key Announcements

Perhaps the best news during the mission was American Airlines’ announcement of service plans from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport to Tokyo-Haneda (the city center airport in Tokyo) beginning in March 2020. I was able to travel on both Japan Airlines and American Airlines for this trip. JAL’s service culture is second to none and AA’s flagship experience was fantastic.

Several corporate location announcements were also made during this trip. Mitsubishi Elevator and Escalator announced its expansion in our region on the last day of the trip. Aishin and Teijin also announced their investments in the San Antonio region.

The Future

As our third-largest trading partner and the No. 1 source of foreign direct investment into the Dallas Region, Japan will remain a high priority for our international program of work. Since 2010, Japan has generated the highest number of jobs and greatest investment in DFW; 7,749 jobs and $2.56 billion in investments. In 2018, we imported $2.27 billion worth of goods and services from Japan and exported $2.02 billion to Japan.

Source: fDi Markets – Financial Times

The DRC is planning a mission trip to Japan in the first week of March 2020 with regional economic developers and companies to explore further investment in DFW and to strengthen our business relationships. As we reflect on this year’s successes and plan for the upcoming year, I am confident that Japan will remain a key partner and a friend of the DFW Region for years to come.