Governor Tom Corbett will lead a delegation of Pennsylvania business leaders on a trade mission to France and Germany next spring that will focus on connecting Pennsylvania companies with potential export partners and encouraging international businesses to invest in the commonwealth.
The March 2012 mission will be privately funded and organized by the Team Pennsylvania Foundation, a private non-profit partnership with the commonwealth.
"With the private-sector support of the Team Pennsylvania Foundation, I am proud to lead our business leaders on this mission to create real opportunities for economic investment and job growth," said Corbett. "While in France and Germany, we will connect our businesses with opportunities to enter new markets and will meet directly with companies that are looking at investing and creating jobs in Pennsylvania."
France and Germany are two of Pennsylvania's most important trade partners. Combined, they represent the state's fourth-largest export market and top source of foreign direct investment in Pennsylvania. In 2010, Pennsylvania companies exported more than $767 million of goods and services to France and more than $1.4 billion to Germany. Currently, 438 French-based firms employ more than 18,500 people in Pennsylvania, and 707 German-based firms employ more than 34,900 in the state.
The Department of Community and Economic Development's (DCED) Office of International Business Development (OIBD) is currently working on several investment projects from France and Germany. Governor Corbett and DCED Secretary C. Alan Walker will work with OIBD's international representatives to
meet with company officials with a goal of securing the projects and the new jobs that will follow.
A great example is the Alstom Group based in France, which in 2009 began a search for a location in the United States to manufacture its disconnect switches.
After considering a number of locations in the U.S., Alstom chose a site in Charleroi, Washington County, creating 30 new jobs and bringing $8 million of investment to the area.
"We considered many factors in choosing a new location for U.S. manufacturing of our disconnect switch products," said Alstom Grid's North America Regional Vice President Keith Stentiford. "We looked at availability and quality of the local workforce, wage rates, proximity to customers and suppliers, available sub-contractors for manufacturing industries, and of course the proximity to our existing operations in Charleroi."
OIBD and Pennsylvania's Investment representative in France have been meeting with company officials in Paris and in the United States since 2007, working to promote Pennsylvania as the ideal location for their expansion projects in the U.S. energy market. Alstom recently indicated that it plans to continue expanding at the Charleroi location.
To learn more about how businesses can participate, contact Lindsay Michael, International Initiatives Manager for Team Pennsylvania Foundation, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 717-233-1375.
For more information about the OIBD or other economic development services, visit www.newPA.com or call 1-866-466-3972.