After two pharmaceutical plants closed in Colorado last year, 210 workers were laid off. Now, Japanese contract pharmaceutical producer AGC Biologics is set to invest in the state. AGC Biologics, a global biopharmaceutical Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) aims to grow its production scale in the city of Boulder starting in April 2021.
In return for creating 280 new jobs, the state of Colorado approved $6,404,990 in performance-based job growth incentive tax credits over eight years and $75,000 in performance-based strategic fund cash incentives over five years. Colorado, which enjoys a sister-state status with Yamagata Prefecture in Japan, has seen considerable job increase from Japanese investment.
In a statement from Michelle Hadwiger, director of global business development at the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, Japan was noted as "one of Colorado's closest foreign partners and deepens our ties with Asian markets while furthering Colorado's international economic attraction." Japanese greenfield investment in Colorado created 390 jobs in 2018. This is just a chunk of the approximately 840,000 jobs created from Japan's cumulative $411 billion investment in the United States.
Hadwiger also added that she hopes that this will also entice other biotech startups in the region which would only grow more job opportunities. This could help boost Boulder’s unemployment, which sits at 4%. While Boulder’s unemployment rate is 12% lower than the national rate, the city’s 22% poverty rate is 46% higher than the national average. As the strong connection between the sister-states continues, attracting more Japanese investment in greenfield projects (which has created 918 jobs in Colorado since 2003) could help improve Boulder’s rates.
Marc Jaffee is a Research Intern at the East-West Center in Washington. He is a first-year Graduate
student at the George Washington University studying Security Policy.