In A Flash

Edwards heads to Japan, South Korea to strengthen business ties

By: - March 3, 2023 1:00 pm
Gov. John Bel Edwards

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (Photo by Wes Muller/LA Illuminator).

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is leading a delegation on a week-long Asia trip to cultivate business development. 

Edwards will be joined by Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson as well as members of the governor’s staff and LED’s Office of International Commerce. 

According to a press release, the governor will attend several business engagements and take meetings with high ranking officials in Japan and Korea, as well as the U.S. ambassadors to both nations. 

“Gov. Edwards’ presence is a meaningful gesture in expressing gratitude for the confidence (Japanese and Korean business leaders) have placed in the workers of Louisiana,” Pierson said. 

The trip will begin in Japan, where Edwards will meet with executives of grain exporter Zen-Noh and Shin-Etsu, the parent company of PVC manufacturer Shintech. Both companies have significant investments in the state. Edwards will also meet with executives from chemical manufacturer Tokai. 

In South Korea, Edwards and LED officials will meet with the president and CEO of Lotte Chemical, which has a facility in Lake Charles, and Kumho Tire, which recently announced plans to open a distribution warehouse in St. Mary Parish.  

Edwards is also expected to meet with officials from Japan’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy and South Korea’s second vice minister of foreign affairs.

The trip is the first Louisiana trade mission to Asia in more than a decade. 

Also accompanying the governor is First Lady Donna Edwards, special assistant Donald Dunbar, , Communications Director Lauren Leist and executive counsel Tina Vanichchagorn. Pierson will be joined by Larry Collins, LED’s executive director of the Office of International Commerce, and Ben Fontenot, the office’s assistant director. 

When Edwards travels, he is also accompanied by a State Police protection detail.


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Piper Hutchinson
Piper Hutchinson

Piper Hutchinson is a reporter for the Louisiana Illuminator. She has covered the Legislature and state government extensively for the LSU Manship News Service and The Reveille, where she was named editor in chief for summer 2022.