Huckabee to Leave Friday for Asian Business Trip

MARCH 9, 2004 - Posted at 10:44 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Governor Mike Huckabee will leave Friday for a business development mission to Taiwan and Japan.  He will be accompanied by First Lady Janet Huckabee and staff members from the Arkansas Department of Economic Development.

"We want to thank the companies in those countries that already have a presence in our state while convincing other companies that Arkansas is a great place to do business," Huckabee said.

On Tuesday, the governor will meet in Nagoya, Japan, with officials of the Denso Corporation, which last July announced it will construct a 217,000 square-foot facility at Osceola that will eventually employ 500 people.  The company is investing $35 million in Arkansas to produce air conditioners for cars and radiators for heavy construction equipment.

"Denso is among the most respected corporations in the world, and we went up against tough competition in the battle to land this plant," Huckabee said.  "The announcement that a company like Denso will bring a large facility to our state is proof that Arkansas can and will compete at the highest levels in the area of economic development.  Once it's completed, the Denso facility will serve as a magnet for other companies.  Due to Mississippi County's prime location along the Mississippi River and Interstate-55, there's no doubt the area will attract additional manufacturing facilities in the years to come."

Later that day, the governor will meet with officials of Sakae Riken Kogyo, the parent company of the Eakas Corporation.  Eakas announced last year that it will construct a manufacturing facility at Wynne to produce exterior parts for automobiles.  The 91,000 square-foot facility will be the company's second U.S. plant.  Production is expected to begin in March 2005 with an eventual workforce of 250 people.  At full production, the Wynne complex will produce door handles for 80,000 vehicles and external door mirrors for 30,000 vehicles each month.

"The South has become the leading beneficiary of the growth of the automotive and auto parts industries," Huckabee said.  "In an era when the concept of just-on-time delivery is a key part of manufacturing, it has never been more important to get raw materials in quickly and ship finished products off just as quickly.  Northeast Arkansas offers a way to do this.  One of the nation's busiest east-west traffic corridors, Interstate-40, joins one of the nation's busiest north-south traffic corridors, Interstate-55, at West Memphis.  The region is also bordered by the Mississippi River, the nation's leading inland passageway for barge traffic.  Two of the county's major railroads operate world-class intermodal facilities in Crittenden County.  And just across the river at Memphis is the largest air freight facility in the world....and companies worldwide are starting to notice."