NAGOYA, Japan — State Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette told MetroNews by phone from Japan Monday evening he was looking forward to a very large international automotive show set for Wednesday.
The 2014 Automotive Engineering Exposition in Yokohama will include a West Virginia booth with Toyota and other Japanese businesses that have found a home in West Virginia.
“Hopefully that will give us the opportunity to be introduced to other companies that may have an interest in our state,” Burdette said.
Burdette, who serves as both commerce secretary and executive director of the state Development Office, has made regular visits to Japan to keep up relationships with existing companies while forging new relationships. He said he’s had a good, profitable week.
“It doesn’t necessarily work to my advantage–I’m not always a very patient person,” Burdette said. “But every time we’re here we find some other opportunity going forward.”
Secretary Burdette was heading into a meeting Tuesday morning with a company that he said is very interested in coming to West Virginia. He said low energy costs are driving the discussions.
There are 20 Japanese companies already in West Virginia. Burdette likes to personally visit the companies at least once a year.
“We nurture these relationships and sometimes it takes months and even years to result in new investment or recruitment, but the return on our investment is 250 to 1,” he said.
The state opened a trade office in Nagoya, Japan 24 years ago.