Congressman Pat Tiberi and two Japanese diplomats visited Delaware on Thursday tour of Sky Climber’s manufacturing facilities on Pittsburgh Drive.
Atsuyuki Oike, the deputy chief of mission to the U.S. Embassy of Japan, and Consul General Mitsuhiro Wada of the Consulate General in Detroit accompanied Tiberi, R-Genoa Township, on the tour.
Sky Climber vice president of operations and engineering Mark Wigginton showed the ambassadors around the factory, describing for them how scaffolding is created and exported, as well as the market for such products.
Wada said that he hoped visits like these can both strengthen relations between the U.S. and Japan and forge new business relationships.
Japan, along with the U.S. and 10 other countries, recently signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement which removed several trade barriers as well as created new, 21st-century trade rules. According to information provided at Thursday’s event by the Business Roundtable, Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies, the partnership gives the U.S. the ability to trade with five Asia-Pacific countries that currently are closed markets to the U.S. The agreement will eliminate all foreign import taxes on industrial and consumer goods, benefiting Ohio’s top export sectors. This will also provide Ohio with the opportunity to increase its goods and services trade with several U.S. free trade agreement partners. The agreement will also help to strengthen investment ties between Ohio and all 11 Trans-Pacific Partnership countries.
Oike and Wada visited Columbus to meet with local industry leaders on the importance of building strong trade and business relationships between the countries. Ohio exported $30.6 billion in goods to all Trans-Pacific Partnership countries in 2014, and $1.4 billion in goods specifically to Japan.
Japan is Ohio’s largest non-NAFTA trade partner and the state’s No. 1 foreign investor, home to over 461 Japanese facilities from 190 Japanese companies, most of them being automotive-related, but consisting of a wide variety of facilities, according to a prepared statement from Kirk Monroe of Rasky Baerlein, a public relations firm. Nearly 13,000 Japanese citizens reside in the Columbus area, he indicated.