Governor Kate Brown will miss President Joe Biden’s upcoming visit to Oregon as she will be traveling to South Korea and Japan to promote tourism and foreign investment, her office announced Wednesday.
Brown will spend a total of 12 days visiting Japan and South Korea, alongside representatives from the agriculture, tourism, higher education, apparel, technology and manufacturing industries.
“While many states are seeking to expand trade opportunities as Asia begins to fully reopen, we know that Oregon’s businesses, products, and tourism opportunities are second to none,” Brown said in a statement.
“Oregon has strong relationships in South Korea and Japan that have been built on decades of trade and the shared values of economic growth, environmental stewardship, and a desire for a better tomorrow.”
Brown and her team will leave Friday and expect to return on October 26. It’s the governor’s first trade mission to Asia since 2019.
Due to the trip, Brown will miss President Biden’s trip to Portland, which is planned for Friday afternoon. It will be Biden’s second visit to the Rose City as president this year.
Republicans in the Legislature were suspicious of the timing of Brown’s trip to the other side of the globe, claiming in a statement she “would rather flee the country than be seen with the President of the United States” because of record-high gas prices and inflation in Oregon that they blame on Biden’s administration.
But Brown’s office maintained the situation was unintended, telling KOIN News that the details of her tour were set weeks ago, well before Biden’s visit was announced.
Asian trade and tourism play huge roles in Oregon’s economy, with Japan being one of the largest foreign investors in the state. South Korea is also a key location for many Oregon exports, especially agriculturally.
Overall, the two nations represent 11% of Oregon’s global export market.
During the trip, Governor Brown will also be hosting business meetings, sitting down with government leaders and hosting women’s leadership forums.
She will also be visiting Oregon’s sister state in Japan, the Toyama Prefecture.
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