Missouri trade delegation highlights contacts during European trip
While in Europe, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s trade entourage has held a lot of meetings, but so far has yet to strike any deals.
That was the message in the governor’s progress report, delivered via a telephone call Wednesday from Munich in Germany.
“Throughout this trip, we have been and will continue to deliver a strong, unified message about the significant advantages Missouri offers, both in terms of quality products and a competitive business environment,” the governor said.
“Our triple-A credit rating (was) reaffirmed again last week by Standard and Poors, (and) these folks deem that kind of fiscal discipline over here as extremely important.”
Nixon said last year’s addition of 9,900 manufacturing jobs reflected the state’s “best year for manufacturing job growth” in 20 years. He said the trip abroad reflected the bipartisan aim of state officials to continue the economic improvement.
The governor said the entourage, which included some business leaders, “held a number of productive meetings with global manufacturers that have or may be considering investments in Missouri.”
“Missouri manufacturing is staging a major comeback, and this week’s trade mission is a great opportunity to build on this success by attracting even more jobs and investments to the Show-Me State,” Nixon said.
“Creating jobs in today’s fiercely competitive global economy requires a proactive, forward-looking approach – and that is exactly what this trade mission is all about. We’re making sure businesses worldwide understand that with a highly skilled workforce, business-friendly climate, and a perfect AAA credit rating, Missouri is an ideal location to make long-term investments and create high-paying jobs.”
On Monday, the governor said he met with Ambassador Philip Reeker, the U.S. Consul General in Milan, as well as “the leadership of Gruppo Fontana, a leading manufacturer of industrial fasteners that supplies a number of automakers including General Motors.”
In a statement, his office said, “The delegation also met with the leadership of Buzzi Unicem, a global cement producer with two facilities in Missouri, and Bomi Italia, a biomedical logistics company.”
The governor said he also “addressed Italian business leaders and investors at a reception hosted by the U.S. Commercial Service in Milan.”
On Tuesday, the Missouri trade delegation visited the German city of Frankfurt, meeting with executives with the chemical manufacturer BASF, which has a facility in Hannibal, Mo.
The governor said he also met with top officials with Schütz, a German-based packaging company “that is investing $20 million and creating 50 jobs to open a facility in St. Joseph, Mo.”
In Munich, the governor said he met with top officials at the auto manufacturer BMW “and visited the headquarters of Siemens, Europe’s largest engineering company,” that also has operations in Missouri.
The Missouri delegation was treated to a reception in Munich hosted by Ambassador William Moeller II, the U.S. Consul General based in Munich.
Nixon’s plans for the rest of the trip include a meeting scheduled with Franz Joseph Pschierer, the Secretary of State of the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Media, Energy & Technology.
The delegation then plans to travel to Madrid, the capital in Spain, for another round of meetings with government officials and business executives. The group plans to fly back home on Saturday.
No state tax money is being spent on the trip. Expenses for the governor and his wife, Georganne Nixon, are covered by the Hawthorn Foundation, a nonprofit organization financed by Missouri businesses and "dedicated to promoting economic growth in Missouri."
“These European countries are important markets for Missouri products, and they’re also major sources of foreign investment into our state,” said House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town and Country, in a statement. “I’m confident that the contacts we’ve made this week will yield dividends for Missouri’s economy for many years to come.”
The delegation also includes Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles; state Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur; and state House Minority Whip John Rizzo, D-Kansas City.