Gov. Rick Snyder will lead a delegation of state and local officials and economic developers on a trade mission to Italy and Germany that leaves Michigan on Saturday, March 17, and returns Saturday, March 24.
"Michigan's long-standing ties with German and Italian companies have meant good jobs here and we look forward to further strengthening these highly productive relationships," Snyder said. "We will deliver the message that Michigan is more business-friendly than ever and this is an opportune time to invest in a state that is reinventing the ways we can help them grow their businesses."
After arriving in Turin, Italy on Sunday, Snyder will hold business meetings with senior executives of leading Italian companies, including Fiat, FIAMM S.p.A. and CoMEC. Joining him in the discussions will be Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Michael Finney, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., and a number of economic development leaders from the state.
The delegation will fly to Stuttgart, Germany on Tuesday, where members will participate in a forum at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology. The state's presentation will focus on advanced electric storage due to Michigan's industry leadership position in North America.
The Partnership Forum brings together decision makers from research, industry, universities and government, for in-depth discussions on building stronger university and industry partnerships. The Fraunhofer Institute has pioneered such partnerships in Germany, and globally, to accelerate product and process commercialization of new technologies. The Fraunhofer Institute is recognized as a model of innovation and is reported to have inspired a $1 billion federal initiative now being considered in Washington.
Snyder will devote much of his trip in Germany to meetings with senior level executives from a number of automotive and alternative energy companies, including BASF, Bosch, Würth Group, and Daimler, as well as government officials.
In addition to the state delegation, local economic development agencies, counties and communities will participate in some or all of the travel, including Oakland and Wayne counties, the city of Auburn Hills, the Detroit Regional Chamber, the Right Place Inc. of Grand Rapids, Southwest Michigan First of Kalamazoo, and Lansing Economic Area Partnerships. Michigan State, Wayne State, Grand Valley State universities and University of Michigan, will be represented in some investment mission events.
German and Italian business relationships with Michigan traditionally have been strong, and state business leaders and economists say the growth opportunities for Michigan are enormous:
Michigan exports to Europe totaled $6 billion in 2011, with transportation equipment and chemicals accounting for nearly half of the total.
Last September, Snyder led an eight-day trade mission in Asia to promote business opportunities in Michigan to major company executives and to meet with Japanese, Chinese and Korean government officials. In the six months since, two new business developments have been announced as results of Snyder's mission to Asia:
Hyundai America Technical Center Inc. (HATCI) in January announced it will expand its operations in Michigan by building a world-class Hot/Cold Weather Dynamometer Test facility at its Superior Township location south of Ann Arbor. The company will invest $15 million to construct the facility and add 50 full-time jobs over the next five years. The state of Michigan will fund construction of a new power substation at the Superior Township location that will improve the power output to the building.
Nexteer Automotive last October announced it will invest $150 million in its Saginaw County operations, retaining more than 1,000 jobs. The Nexteer investment will include expansion and upgrade of testing and validation capabilities, including an overhaul of the Nexteer Vehicle Evaluation Center. Chinese state-owned parts manufacturer AVIC Automobile Industry Holding Co. in March 2011 acquired a 51 percent stakes in Nexteer's owner, Pacific Century Motors.