Beshear to speak to 1,000 executives at international automotive conference in Germany
FRANKFORT Ky. (Jan. 28, 2015) – Aiming to strengthen international investment in Kentucky, Gov. Steve Beshear departs Saturday on a two-fold economic development trip to Germany and Sweden, his office said today. He will be accompanied by Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes.
Beshear has been invited to speak at the international CAR-Symposium, an annual event in Bochum, Germany, that draws more than 1,000 automotive executives from around the world. He will address the conference about Kentucky’s prominence in the global auto industry and join in the formal and casual discussion opportunities for future growth that take place during the gathering.
“I’m both honored and looking forward to sharing Kentucky’s automotive success story at the CAR-Symposium in Germany,” said Beshear. “It is my goal to continue to aggressively market the commonwealth’s many business advantages to the international business community and to build upon the momentum that we have cultivated. This is a great opportunity to showcase Kentucky to some of the top auto executives in the world.”
During the five-day trip, the governor and executive staff with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development will showcase Kentucky’s business-friendly climate to potential new businesses and strengthen existing ties with European companies already operating in the commonwealth. Foreign direct investment has been a state priority the past several years, and there have been successes in attracting Germany’s mostly family-owned vehicle suppliers to bring operations to the commonwealth.
Kentucky’s economic landscape is increasingly defined by the presence of European-owned companies. More than 170 European facilities are in Kentucky, employing more than 27,000 people. Last year, nearly 15 percent of new investment in the commonwealth came from European-owned businesses. International trade between Kentucky and Europe topped $16 billion last year.
In 2014, nearly a third of all capital investment and 20 percent of new jobs announced in the manufacturing, service and technology industries were a result of foreign-owned enterprises.
“We are seeing more and more European companies making the decision to locate or expand their current operations in Kentucky,” said Hayes. “This trip will allow us to personally build on those relationships and show why Kentucky is the ideal location for their business needs.”
Economic development trips play a role in attracting international companies to the state. Multiple companies have located or expanded operations in Kentucky as a result of previous visits, including Dr. Schneider Automotive Systems (Russell Springs), iwis (Murray), Kayser Automotive (Fulton), L’Oreal (Florence), Mubea (Florence), Webasto (Lexington) and North American Stainless (Ghent).
To further boost economic development leads from European companies, Kentucky also operates an international office in Hamburg, Germany. During the upcoming trip, Gov. Beshear will follow-up on several business opportunities that have arisen thanks to the on-the-ground, in-country support designed to develop relationships with European companies.
Since taking office in 2007, Gov. Beshear has made a half dozen economic development trips to Europe. He is scheduled to return to Kentucky Feb. 5.