Louisiana Gov. travels to Asia to strengthen business ties

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is traveling to Asia for a weeklong series of meetings with business leaders and policymakers in the hopes of growing foreign investment.

Edwards, who left Friday and will return March 11, will visit South Korea and Japan. In a press release, the Democrat said the trip, which is Louisiana's first trade mission to Asia in a decade, is designed to “strengthen ties to one of the state’s most important international trading partners, and reinforce Louisiana’s unique advantages for major jobs-creating business development and expansion projects.”

“Asian imports, exports and manufacturing investments have driven job creation and economic expansion in Louisiana for decades," Edwards said. “The impact of those investments has grown dramatically in recent years, and it is imperative that we cultivate opportunities for continued growth.”

Louisiana has repeatedly ranked as the top state for per-capita foreign direct investment, according to the governor’s office — a large portion of which is driven by Asia-Pacific companies.

Edwards will meet with top executives of numerous companies that have investments in Louisiana — including Zen-Noh, a major grain exporter with headquarters in Covington and Shin-Etsu, the parent company of a PVC manufacturer that has more than $10 billion worth of facility investments in Louisiana.