Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today announced he will embark on an investment mission to Europe. The 13-day mission is scheduled for Oct. 10-22 and will include stops in Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. The governor will focus on strengthening relations with companies currently doing business in West Virginia, as well as building relationships with those considering investing in the state. He will also participate in several events geared at sparking new interest in the Mountain State.
"West Virginia has a world-class workforce, a strategic location, and a business climate that gets stronger every day. We're gaining a global reputation as an outstanding place to do business," said Gov. Tomblin. "In a few weeks, I will cross the Atlantic to personally express my thanks to the many European executives who already have located operations here. I will also meet with a number of companies looking to take advantage of what we have to offer. These face-to-face meetings are an indispensable part of bringing more global investment and good-paying jobs to our state."
European relations play a vital role in West Virginia's economy. Last year, nearly 1/3 of West Virginia's $11.3 billion exports went to Europe. More than 80 European companies have invested in West Virginia. These companies currently employ more than 10,000 hard-working West Virginians. Gov. Tomblin is the first West Virginia governor to visit France on a trade mission.
This tour will mark Gov. Tomblin's second international mission. Last June, the governor led a similar mission to Japan. "Our mission to Japan was tremendously successful, with five companies announcing expansions upon our return. I'm very hopeful this mission proves to be just as fruitful," said Gov. Tomblin.