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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Rep. Peters, WTC San Diego to lead trade mission to Japan

November 12, 2018

In an effort to create a connection between vital economic trading partners, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) and World Trade Center San Diego, an affiliate of San Diego Regional EDC, are leading a delegation to Tokyo and Yokohama, Japan. During the trade mission, local companies and organizations will promote key San Diego industries, establish and develop business relationships and explore opportunities for San Diego companies to tap into Japan’s expertise in urban planning and life sciences.

“In today’s global economy, San Diego’s success depends on fostering international relationships that bring investment and jobs to our region,” said Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52). “Japan shares our commitment to life sciences and our startup culture, creating opportunities for collaboration every day. Strengthening our partnership will foster innovation and economic growth in both our regions.”                                                

Japan is currently the third largest economy in the world, and one of San Diego’s most vital trading partners. According to World Trade Center Los Angeles, nearly 12,000 San Diegans are directly employed by Japan-based companies including SONY, Takeda and more. Additionally, there was more than $3.4 billion in economic activity between San Diego and Japan from 2016 -2018.

“Ever since the launch of Japan Airlines' direct service from San Diego, we have seen an influx in foreign investment from the Japanese market,” said Nikia Clarke, executive director of World Trade Center San Diego and vice president of economic development at San Diego Regional EDC. “As the rhetoric around global engagement shifts, now, more than ever, it is essential that we reinforce San Diego’s brand so it is top of mind for investors and companies.”

Over the three day trade mission, San Diego will look to bolster its tech and life sciences industries through various meetings and partnership deals with Japanese counterparts. Some crucial agenda items include:

  • An announcement from a San Diego-based biotech startup that is expanding to Tokyo.
  • A ‘trends in venture capital forum’ with Qualcomm, Yahoo! Japan and others at Plug and Play, the world’s largest technology accelerator.
  • A celebration of more than 60 years of a “Sister City” relationship with Yokohama, Japan.
  • An immersive visit to Takeda’s Shonan Health Innovation Park, one of the first collaborative academic and private sector research centers in Japan.
  • Panels and programming surrounding best practices and ideas exchanges on climate change with Scripps Institute of Oceanography as well as leadership and gender equity.

Delegates will participate in upwards of 15 meetings over the course of the trade mission, sharing best practices and formulating collaborations across many verticals. The 31-San Diego delegates include representatives from Northrop Grumman, Qualcomm Takeda California and more.  Also in attendance are key San Diego agencies, universities and civic organizations such as the Port of San Diego, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, San Diego State University, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, UC San Diego and more.

Additionally, many small businesses and startups, including FoxFury Lighting Solutions, Planck Aerosystems and Scientist.com, will have the opportunity to engage in business development opportunities with Japanese counterparts.

As Tokyo looks to modernize infrastructure and grapples with key issues ahead of the 2020 Olympics, San Diego leaders have the unique opportunity to learn from counterparts across the globe, while also maintaining ties that create jobs and boost the regional economy.

At a time of mounting global uncertainty, World Trade Center San Diego conducts periodic trade missions to drive long term relationships for San Diego’s economy. In 2017, World Trade Center San Diego and Congressman Peters led a trade mission to London, which enabled startup Forge Therapeutics to double its headcount in San Diego and expand to a new facility.

This trade mission is organized by World Trade Center San Diego, an affiliate of the San Diego Regional EDC.

Follow along during the trade mission: #SDinJapan.