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Trade mission to promote Delaware to German companies begins today

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Gov. Jack  Markell will be in Germany Tuesday to strengthen relationships with German companies and business organizations.

The visit follows this year’s launch of the Department of State’s ‘Global Delaware’ initiative (global.delaware.gov) and focuses on the three goals of the program: paving the way for Delaware companies to increase exports, building on Delaware’s global leadership in corporate governance and as a preferred site of incorporation, and promoting the state as a place for foreign companies to expand.

“Success for our state in the 21st century means looking beyond our borders for ways to create jobs and economic opportunity for Delawareans,” said Markell. “In a world where businesses have more choices than ever about where to invest and where Delaware companies have more opportunities than ever to sell their products around the globe, we must ensure that leading international business communities appreciate all that Delaware has to offer.”

The primary goal of the mission is to strengthen ties with the prospering small- and medium-sized companies (known as “Mittelstand”) of Bavaria, and its capital city of Munich, by meeting with individual businesses as well as organizations that represent and support them. The State aims to leverage its recently strengthened relationship with German companies, including the research company Fraunhofer and the manufacturer Uzin Utz, which will soon open its first U.S. plant in Dover.

Gov. Markell will work to develop a network of trade partners for Delaware companies to build on recent success. Germany was one of four key international markets identified as part of the initiative, which focuses on countries with the most buying potential for the products and services that Delaware has to offer.

Delaware exports to Germany have grown by 28.8 percent in the last 2 years. In 2014, Delaware exported $390.4 million in goods and services to Germany. The German economy represents the world’s fourth largest, accounting for more than one-fifth of the European Union’s GDP, and Germany is the United States’ largest European trading partner, as well as the sixth-largest market for U.S. exports.

The Governor will also take advantage of the opportunity to meet with prominent leaders of Germany’s legal community to promote the advantages of forming Delaware business entities and using Delaware’s courts for dispute resolution, according to state officials. Significant international growth has been a chief reason that Delaware set historic highs in the number of new companies formed last year.

Finally, the Governor will discuss opportunities to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) by Germany in Delaware. Germany invests more than $270 billion per year in the U.S., making it one of the leading sources for FDI. Germany invests the fourth-most of any country in Delaware, investing more than $270 million per year as of 2013.

In addition to connecting with individual companies and entrepreneurs across a variety of industries, Markell will meet with leaders from:

  • IHK’s Munich and Upper Bavaria chapter, with about 400,000 member companies;
  • The Bavarian Industry Association, which represents more than 100 Bavarian economic and employers’ associations, as well as 30 individual companies from diverse industries;
  • BioM, the networking agency for the biotechnology sector in Munich and Bavaria; and
  • Factory Berlin, Germany’s largest start-up campus, which supports many thriving new companies, particularly in technology fields.

The State delegation, which arrives in Munich on Tuesday and returns the following Monday, will also include:

  • Ian Wright, Board Member of the Delaware Bioscience Association who is a German-speaking former employee of Siemens (headquartered in Munich) and an active member of the Delaware business community;
  • Lydia Sarson, Director of the German American Chamber of Commerce in Philadelphia;
  • Andrea Tinianow, Director of Global Delaware; and
  • Michael Marquardt, global advisor to the Department of State

The trip is estimated to cost less than $50,000 and will be the first foreign trade mission in which the Governor is participating since he visited Israel two years ago.

The launch of Global Delaware provides an opportunity to expand on progress from the Governor’s earlier international efforts and has already produced results. The program helped recruit AB Group Packaging, Inc., a 30-year-old paper bag and flexible packaging producer with plants in Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom, which is slated to open its first U.S. plant in Delaware this summer, creating 87 new full-time jobs.

In addition, Global Delaware sponsored a mission to Canada so that Delaware farmers could meet with senior purchasing executives of Canada’s four largest retail chains, giving them unprecedented access to key buyers. The Canadian retailers – none of which had bought from Delaware before – all made commitments to purchase produce from Delaware growers.

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