Wyoming Lawmakers Wrap Up 1st Leg of Pacific Rim Trip

By Staff – 14 Sept ’14

Six Wyoming lawmakers wrapped up the first of a two-week tour of Asia’s Pacific Rim in Japan on Saturday to continue efforts to expand the State’s energy and manufacturing interests abroad. Wyoming Senate President Tony Ross and Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau are leading a delegation of legislators and staff from the Governor’s Office and the Wyoming Business Council.

The group spent the week meeting with the coal division of Sojitz, one of Japan’s largest multinational finance houses, about the assessment of the world market for coal and strategies to make Wyoming coal more attractive to world markets.

“The first week of meetings was extremely productive.   Wyoming has unique opportunities at this point in time to expand our efforts into these Asian markets,” Ross said.

In addition, members met with J-Power, one of Japan’s largest electrical companies and a past buyer of Wyoming coal. J-Power has also developed world-class technologies, allowing coal to be more attractive to the world market. The members also discussed strategies for the development of clean coal technologies with the Japanese Government Coal Research Group.

“Japan insists on environmentally responsible coal technologies and is focused on advanced coal technologies. We need to understand this point of view if we are going to move into this market,” Rep. Nicholas said.

The delegation spent Friday meeting with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. They also met with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization as a follow up to Rep. David Miller’s visit last year. The group will travel onto Seoul, South Korea and Taipei, Taiwan next week.

“The Asian coal market is a great opportunity to diversify Wyoming’s coal market. We have a window of opportunity to earn a place in this market, and we need to be aggressive in keeping that window open,” Lubnau added.

The trip is a joint effort of Governor Matt Mead’s Office and the Legislature. Travel costs are being shared through the appropriation the Legislature provided to the Governor’s Office to implement the goals of the Wyoming Value Added Energy and Industrial Plan program, and through funds the Legislature appropriated in its operating budget specifically for international travel related to economic development.