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Secretary Mike Naig, IEDA Leading Trade Mission to Japan, South Korea

February 21, 2023

For more information contact: 

Kanan Kappelman (IEDA) 

Don McDowell (IDALS) 

February 21, 2023 (DES MOINES, IA) - Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig is currently leading a 16-member trade mission delegation to Japan and Korea. The mission, which is focused on the food and ag industry, is aimed at expanding trade and investment opportunities and is being coordinated by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). 

In 2022, Iowa companies exported $1.8 billion in goods to Japan and $886 million to South Korea. Japan is Iowa’s third largest export destination and the second-leading export market for pork and beef products. Iowa companies exported $551 million in meat products to Japan in 2022. In addition, Japan is the second largest destination for Iowa corn – in 2022, Japan imported $500 million in Iowa corn. 

South Korea is the fourth largest destination for Iowa pork and beef ($348 million) and sixth largest destination for Iowa corn ($87 million). South Korea is also Iowa’s second largest international market for ethanol ($71.2 million). There is significant potential for growth of biofuel exports to both Japan and South Korea.

“Trade matters to Iowa and we are grateful for our strong trading partnership with the people of Japan and South Korea. Iowa is a proven, consistent and reliable supplier of products to our trading partners around the world,” said Secretary Naig. “I’m honored to lead this delegation of Iowans as we seek to build new relationships, strengthen existing friendships, and create even more consumer demand for our grain, meat, biofuels and other agricultural products within Japan and South Korea.”

The delegation left for Japan on February 17 and is scheduled to return to Iowa on February 25. The itinerary is comprised of stops in Tokyo and Seoul and mission highlights include trade policy discussions, grain and protein import information sessions with leading organizations, and meetings with ag industry representatives on business development opportunities. In addition, the delegation celebrated “Iowa Agriculture & BBQ Day” in Tokyo today by presenting a proclamation, which was signed by Governor Kim Reynolds commemorating the day, to Japanese ag industry leaders. 

Mission participants include Iowa companies involved in meat and food processing and representatives from the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Corn and Iowa Soybean Association. Iowa companies will participate in meetings specific to their market entry or expansion needs. IEDA cooperated with U.S. Grains Council, U.S. Meat Export Federation and U.S. Soybean Export Council to identify business prospects for the delegation.

The IEDA’s International Trade Office connects Iowa companies with markets for their products and services, educates Iowa businesses on exporting and assists global companies wishing to establish or expand operations in Iowa. To find out more about these services or other trade missions that the IEDA is planning, please visit


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