With speculation rife about a new Toyota Motor Corp. manufacturing plant to be built in the Southeast United States, Georgia officials are to attend the 26th Southeast U.S.- Japan Joint Conference in Charleston, S.C., Sept. 14-17.

          Forty-five Georgia business representatives and state officials, led by Gov. Roy Barnes and R. K. Sehgal, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism, are to attend the conference to promote trade, investment and friendly ties between Japan and Georgia.

          The conference is being held at a time when Toyota is considering establishing an automobile manufacturing facility in a southeastern state. Representatives of Toyota, Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. are invited to the SEUS Japan conference.

          Although it is speculated that Toyota will choose Alabama for the new plant site, GDITT International Trade Director Tim Evans told GlobalFax that Georgia “is always looking to be included on projects like this and always open to new foreign investment.” He said it is too early in Toyota’s site location process to comment on Georgia’s chances.

          The conference, “Moving Forward in Unity,” is to involve 350 attendees from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, as well as 90 guests from Japan. Japanese companies with operations in the Southeast U.S., as well as companies interested in investing in the region, are also to attend.

          Katzuko Shiraishi, acting consul general of Japan in Atlanta, will be a speaker at the conference, and Yomiko Nakazono, GDITT’s representative in Tokyo, is scheduled to attend.

          John Beane, partner in the Atlanta law firm of Troutman Sanders LLP, is also to moderate a discussion on practical assistance for Japanese companies in the Southeast.

Atlanta will host the Japan SEUS conference in 2004. The SEUS-Korea Conference, a similar event joining Korean and Southeastern delegations, is scheduled for Nov. 3-4 in Savannah.

          Visit www.teamsc.com/seus for conference information. Contact Mr. Evans at (404) 656-7605 or visit www.georgia.org