For Immediate Release

Mississippi Governor Plans Trade, Investment Trip To Asia
Will Welcome Visitors to 2005 World Expo

(Jackson, Miss.) - Governor Haley Barbour is embarking on a 17-day trade and investment mission to Asia, continuing efforts to expand the international appeal of Mississippi as a great place to visit and do business.

Barbour and representatives of the Mississippi Development Authority will visit Japan, China, South Korea and Taiwan, including sessions with leaders of companies – such as Nissan – already doing business in Mississippi, and others that are considered good prospects for future investment.

The trip will showcase Mississippi’s new economic development initiative, Momentum Mississippi, and recent major reforms in workforce development programs – two new laws that will work in tandem to attract additional international investment and help create higher-skilled, higher-paying jobs in Mississippi.

“Now that Momentum Mississippi and comprehensive reforms in the state’s workforce development and training programs are being implemented, we have an arsenal of new tools that we will use to help businesses expand or locate here,” Barbour said. “I will also emphasize to Asian-based companies already operating in the state our appreciation for the good jobs and good wages they offer for thousands of Mississippians.”

The Mississippi Comprehensive Workforce Training and Education Consolidation Act of 2004 streamlined workforce training activities within the state under a new Department of Employment Security. It also created more efficient and effective delivery of workforce training activities and educational opportunities, helping Mississippi workers build higher skills and pairing them with companies seeking a highly-skilled workforce.

Barbour and the Mississippi delegation today began a series of meetings and briefings by U.S. and Japanese government officials, and a visit with corporate officials of Nissan at the company’s headquarters. During the following days, they will head to pre-arranged appointments in South Korea, China – including luncheons sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and Hong Kong – and Taiwan before returning to Mississippi on August 17.

Taking time to tout Mississippi’s important tourism business, Barbour on August 4 will host an afternoon event at “Mississippi Day” in the United States Pavilion at the 2005 World Expo. The event will feature the most influential form of American music, “the Blues” – which originated in the Mississippi Delta.

James "Super Chickan" Johnson and recording artist Ora Reed, a Mississippi native who now lives in Japan, will perform during the day. Since the World Expo opened earlier this year, more than 15,000 visitors have toured the U.S. Pavilion each day.

Leland Speed, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority, said, “To further assist and support our Japanese business partners, and in addition to the numerous advantages we offer such as low costs and high standard of living and quality of life, the state supports a local branch of the Japan-America Society and a thriving Saturday school in the capitol for our younger Japanese guests. On the travel front, visitors are discovering the Mississippi we have long known - lush golf courses, exciting entertainment venues, beautiful scenery, fabled hospitality and our musical heritage.”

The Blues is heard around the world and is echoed in the sounds of rock and roll, jazz, rhythm and blues, and country music. It is a national treasure, one that Mississippians appreciate and value. This trip is also an opportunity to attract tourists to Mississippi.

“We want to encourage potential visitors to explore our musical roots, travel down the Blues Highway, visit the Crossroads, and hear the rich sounds that have always been part of our everyday life,” Craig Ray, MDA Director of Tourism added.

About the World EXPO 2005 U.S. Pavilion

The World EXPO 2005 held in Aichi Prefecture, Japan, opened March 25 and is scheduled to end September 25, 2005. Business and political leaders from around the world will be among the estimated 15 million visitors to EXPO 2005.

Of the 120 country exhibits, the U.S. Pavilion is expected to be a major attraction that celebrates nature, progress and human achievement. More information on the U.S. Pavilion can be found at www.uspavilion.com.

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Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601.359.3150 Fax: 601.359.3741