Governor Jan Brewer today will lead a trade delegation to Europe, with a focus on expanding business investment, tourism and job growth in Arizona.
The delegation -- including the Governor and leaders with the Arizona Commerce Authority and Arizona Office of Tourism -- will meet with heads of industry and government in the critical trade destinations of Germany and France. In 2011, Germany was Arizona's 6th-largest export partner; France was 10th-largest. The Arizona delegation will return to Phoenix on June 4.
"Arizona cannot be content to compete for jobs and investment regionally or even nationally -- we must compete globally if we intend to be a magnet for economic opportunity and prosperity," said Governor Brewer. "Our quality of life, competitive tax rates, lean regulations and ready workforce are already compelling selling points. Now, we need to make certain that international business leaders are aware of everything else Arizona has to offer -- including our new incentives for job growth, corporate manufacturing and renewable energy."
The cornerstone of the trade mission is a Global Business Dialogue conference in Berlin that is being organized in partnership with the Thunderbird School of Global Management, The American Chamber of Commerce in Germany and the U.S. Embassy in Berlin. The conference will bring together more than 500 business leaders from around the world to discuss innovation, energy and the most promising prospects for trade between the United States and Europe. Attending the conference will be business executives from an estimated 60 countries, many of whom already have Arizona ties as Thunderbird graduates.
"An integral part of the ACA's strategy is a focus on communicating the benefits of doing business in Arizona to an international audience," said Arizona Commerce Authority Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Sandra Watson, who will be traveling with the delegation. "The ACA is once again partnering with the Thunderbird School of Global Management to reach companies that could potentially bring high-wage jobs to Arizona."
Following the Global Business Dialogue conference in Berlin, the delegation will travel to Munich for a Trade, Investment and Tourism seminar with German corporations that have indicated interest in relocating or expanding operations in the southwestern United States. Germany is the largest consumer market in the European Union, and imported $770 million worth of Arizona goods and products in 2011.
The delegation will then fly to Paris, France, for a series of business meetings -- including with French companies that already have a presence in Arizona and may consider expanding their operations. In 2011, France imported $484 million worth of Arizona goods and products.
Throughout the mission, the Governor and members of the delegation will conduct interviews with European business reporters and travel writers in order to spread the word about trade and tourism opportunities in Arizona. In terms of tourist visitation and spending, Germany and France are Arizona's fourth and fifth most important markets, respectively.
"Tourism is one of Arizona's most critical economic drivers, and this trip represents an important step for Arizona back into the European market as we vie for German and French travelers," said Arizona Office of Tourism Director Sherry Henry, who will participate in the trade mission. "Just as important, we know that tourism can serve as an entrée to future economic investment as executives visit a location for the first time and find it appealing for their business. In this way, a trade mission like this that combines business recruitment and tourism promotion can be a significant win-win for Arizona's economy."