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Alabama investment by Japanese firms tops $4 billion as expansions continue

MONTGOMERY, Alabama – As Governor Robert Bentley begins four days of talks with Japanese corporate leaders on an economic development mission, business ties between Alabama and the Asian country are strengthening as several Japanese firms add new investment to expand their operations in the state.

In Alabama, many Japanese manufacturers have found a U.S. base where they can grow and do what they do best — make products ranging from automobiles and engines to chemicals and carbon fibers, from water heaters and work gloves to vitamins and food products.

Honda and Toyota, gold-plated Japanese corporate names, have established large operations in Alabama, and both have expanded multiple times. A large auto supplier network has sprung up in Alabama, with many parts-makers also in growth mode. One example: HTNA, which produces carpet and interior trim products for automakers, is adding 100 workers in Alabama after investing nearly $27 million in a new, larger facility in Jasper.

Japanese companies in other fields also have thrived in Alabama. Daikin Industries, for example, announced plans in 1999 to launch a chemicals operation in Decatur with a $20 million investment. It expanded in 2000, 2005, 2008 and 2012, adding another $125 million in investment. The story has been much the same for Toray, which makes carbon and Teflon fibers in Decatur, with several rounds of expansion.

Photo by: A Toyota employee works on an engine at the automaker’s Huntsville plant.

Governor Robert Bentley to lead Alabama economic development mission to Japan

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