While speaking in Atlanta at a gala dinner sponsored by 30 Asian American organizations last week, Gov. Sonny Perdue underlined the importance of trade missions in promoting economic development in the state.

“Making those one-to-one contacts and building those personal relationships is very important for strengthening Georgia’s business ties with Asian countries,” he told the 470 attendees at the event that was held at the Omni Hotel at the CNN Center on May 12.

He referred specifically to trade missions that he led to Japan and Korea last year.

“Except for the 13-hour flight and the jet lag, which wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be, it was like visiting good neighbors just down the street,” he said. “And we are good neighbors. Today hundreds of Asian companies have facilities in Georgia employing thousands of workers.”

He said that a new engine manufacturing facility in Griffin and the consolidation of Hyundai and Kia auto processing centers at the Port of Brunswick resulted from trade missions last year.

“Just this morning I attended the opening of a new small engine manufacturing plant,” he said concerning the Griffin facility of Perkins Engine Co., the British subsidiary of Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar Inc. and Shibaura Machinery Ltd., a Japanese company.

He said that the $6 million investment to create small engines for lawn and turf care equipment as well as mobile construction equipment would create 100 jobs.

The consolidation of the auto processing centers also would create new jobs in the state, he added.

The organizations at the dinner were the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia, Asian American Coalition, Asian American Journalist Association-Atlanta, Asian Pacific American Council of Georgia, Association of Chinese Professionals, Atlanta Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce, Bangladesh Association of Georgia, Chinese Business Association of Atlanta, Chinese Community Center, Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Georgia Indo American Chamber of Commerce, Good Shepherd Corp., Hong Kong Association of Atlanta, India American Cultural Association, Japan-America Society of Georgia, Japanese American Citizens League, Korea Southeast U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Korean Advisory Council of Unification-Atlanta Chapter, Korean American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia, Korean Political Action Committee, Kwong Tung Association, Laotian Community of Atlanta, Monte Jade Science & Technology Association, National Federation of Indian American Association, Organization of Chinese Americans, Pakistan American Community of Atlanta, Raksha Insurance, Thai Association World Center USA, the National Association of Chinese-Americans and United Vietnamese Community of Georgia.

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