Missouri Extends A Warm Welcome to Japanese Companies

Japan is the third-largest economy in the world. It’s one of the most important trade and investment partners for the U.S., and Missouri in particular.

In 2020, trade in goods and services between the two countries was worth $253 billion, positioning Japan as the largest source of foreign direct investment, with almost 7,000 Japanese companies operating in the U.S.

The U.S. provides a positive environment for growth. Nearly 50% of Japanese companies in the U.S. plan to expand in the next two years, citing sales increases in local markets as the main reason.

The U.S. auto industry, a key market for many Japanese companies, continues to show strong growth. As a result, the top U.S. imports from Japan are automobiles, auto parts, and electronics. Start-up companies involved in autonomous driving research are also expanding.

A partner for growth

Missouri already has strong economic relations with Japan and wants them to grow.

More than 70 Japanese companies currently have a presence in Missouri, with a high percentage in the advanced manufacturing and auto manufacturing sectors. These include Kawasaki, Toyota, Panasonic, and many others.

Last year, Missouri’s exports to Japan were $479 million. These were led by processed foods (44%), followed by chemicals (18%), computer and electronic products (9%), and transportation equipment (5%). Imports from Japan amounted to $354 million, led by chemicals (32%).

Why is Missouri the best state for growing businesses?

Japanese businesses that have relocated or expanded into Missouri recognize the benefits of the state’s strategic location at the heart of North America, low business costs, highly-skilled workforce, and an abundance of like-minded companies. 

There are plenty of statistics to support Missouri’s standing as the perfect location for business. Missouri is extremely affordable and was recently ranked 1st for the lowest cost of doing business in the U.S. Missouri provides low effective tax rates for new firms and has the 3rd lowest corporate income tax index in the nation. It’s a global leader in advanced manufacturing and automotive manufacturing, with significant production from Ford and GM. Combining all these benefits makes Missouri the right choice for Japanese companies looking to establish U.S. facilities.

As evidence of the solid two-way relationship, more than a dozen Missouri companies have invested in Japan, including Emerson, Belden, and ESCO Technologies.

To assist with expanding into the U.S., Missouri Partnership and the Missouri Department of Economic Development have an office in Tokyo, Japan. Companies receive in-person advice and consulting to make their expansions into the U.S. seamless. These services are confidential and complimentary.

A cultural and business home

Missouri has several organizations dedicated to supporting Japanese and Asian cultures. These include Japan America Society of St. Louis, Heart of America Japan-America Society, University of Missouri Asian Affairs Center, St. Louis Language Immersion Schools, and the St. Louis Mosaic Project.

Every community in Missouri welcomes foreign direct investment (FDI) and understands the importance of supporting companies from across the world as they open new facilities in the state. They also offer a range of business networking opportunities, and Missouri Partnership can introduce new arrivals to strategic partners and key leaders.

Making the move

Finding the right location for international expansion can present many challenges. By reducing risk and providing a working and cultural environment to support business and social growth, Missouri is the ideal U.S. location for new Japanese investment.