The Riverside County Board of Supervisors today authorized its chairman to sign an agreement with Japan to conduct a study, with local help, on the benefits of foreign direct investment in the county.
“The foreign direct investment we seek to bring to Riverside County is extremely important,” county Foreign Trade Commissioner Tom Freeman told the board.
“This study allows us … to (find out) who’s doing business here from other countries, how much that investment represents, exactly how many people they employ and, further, how many more people we can bring to Riverside County to create jobs,” he said.
Freeman and county Economic Development Agency Director Rob Field proposed the study after a meeting with the Japanese consul general in March, during which Japanese officials recommended that a partnership be formed.
The Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, UC Riverside and The Press-Enterprise newspaper are joining in the “first of its kind effort,” EDA documents stated.
Field said the study will cost the county nothing, utilizing “the best kind of labor available — free.”
Graduate students from UC Riverside will be working alongside economic advisers from Japan and an investment adviser from New York-based Moody’s Investment Services to complete the project, according to Field.
Freeman said the county’s export trade is estimated at $2.5 billion annually, and some 41,000 local jobs are believed to be tied to the export market.
A ceremonial signing ceremony is planned with Japanese dignitaries during next Tuesday’s board meeting.