Harford County Facility is Japanese Manufacturer’s First East Coast Location
United Foods International Co. (UFI), a Japanese private label food manufacturer, today celebrated the grand opening of its first East Coast location in Belcamp in Harford County. The company, which is ramping up production and plans to create up to 125 new jobs, has been in a test production phase for the past year and currently has approximately 25 employees.
UFI, whose private label products include a variety of custom Asian sauces, soups, condiments, and dry blends (e.g. seasonings and batter mix), first opened a U.S. office in California in 1988. The company’s significant growth plans follow a Memorandum of Cooperation signed by Governor Larry Hogan and the Embassy of Japan in August 2016 to foster trade, investment, and other forms of collaboration between Maryland and Japan.
“With the support of the state of Maryland and the embassy of Japan, we recognized that Maryland provides tremendous business advantages for UFI,” stated Takeo Shimura, UFI’s chief operating officer. “We are truly excited to be able to operate in a similar capacity or even more than that of the California operations and given our geographic location, delivery is possible as quick as one to two days to all East Coast states.”
“We are excited to officially welcome United Foods International to Maryland, and look forward to a continued productive economic and cultural relationship with Japan,” said Governor Hogan. “Creating 125 new jobs is a tremendous win for Harford County and our entire state, and further demonstrates that Maryland is open for business.”
“100+ Japanese affiliated companies operate in the state, providing 6,100 jobs for the citizens of Maryland,” said Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae. “UFI’s location and growth in Maryland further strengthens the partnership between Maryland and Japan. I am delighted that the Memorandum of Cooperation between Japan and Maryland has already been and will be providing incentives to greater amount of investment which creates more jobs.”
The Maryland Department of Commerce worked with UFI to provide guidance, information, and introductions as the company prepared to open its Belcamp facility, which will serve as its East Coast base of operations and a counterpart to its facilities in California. The company plans to utilize the Port of Baltimore for importing material and products and may export the Belcamp products overseas. UFI is eligible for and currently exploring the More Jobs For Marylanders Act, which was the centerpiece of Governor Hogan’s Maryland Jobs Initiative and provides tax incentives to new and existing manufacturers in the state that create jobs.
“United Foods International looked at Maryland and saw what we already know: this is a great place to do business,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill. “They saw the Port of Baltimore, they saw our convenient access to states all along the East Coast, and they saw a business-friendly climate that would allow them get up and running smoothly. We welcome UFI to Team Maryland.”
“We are proud to have UFI join the growing list of businesses that find Harford County is a place to prosper,” said Harford County Executive Barry Glassman. “Our streamlined permitting and pro-business approach save them time and money, while our available workforce, transportation network and quality of life support their future success.”