Delaware governor woos business on trade mission to Germany

DOVER — Guten tag!

Gov. Jack Markell will travel to Germany today for a trade mission as part of efforts to improve Delaware’s relationship with one of its key foreign investors and hopes it indeed will be a “good day” for Delaware.

Earlier this year, the Department of State launched the Global Delaware initiative, a plan to promote the First State as a place to do business. The program touts the state’s corporate-friendly Court of Chancery, its location near major metropolises and its workforce.

Germany was identified as a key nation the state seeks to build ties with, along with Canada, Mexico and South Korea.

“Success for our state in the 21st century means looking beyond our borders for ways to create jobs and economic opportunity for Delawareans,” Gov. Markell said in a statement.

“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 administration hopes to increase exports and promote the state as a site for foreign companies looking to launch new offices or subsidiaries.

During his trip, which will last six days and cost less than $50,000, according to the governor’s office, Gov. Markell and his delegation will meet with small businesses and commerce organizations in the state of Bavaria. Delaware has partnerships with several German companies, including Fraunhofer and Uzin Utz.

Uzin Utz, which makes specialty flooring products, has a Dover plant that is scheduled to open Sept. 25.

“As a German company that has found Delaware to be a great place to do business, we are excited that the governor is making this trip not only to our home country but specifically to build relationships in the south of Germany,” Philipp Utz, president of Uzin Utz Manufacturing North America Inc, said in a statement. “Delaware has a lot to be proud of, with a growing business community, a state-of-the-art infrastructure and the ability to offer a skilled workforce.

“It will be of great benefit to many other German entrepreneurs to learn about the state and Delaware companies will also have a lot to gain from better ties with Germany’s economy.”

Delaware exported $390.4 million worth of goods and services to Germany in 2014. The nation has the fourth largest economy in the world and is the United States’ largest trading partner. It invested more than $270 million in Delaware in 2013, behind only three other countries.

Delaware’s delegation includes Ian Wright, a German-speaking board member of the Delaware Bioscience Association; Lydia Sarson, director of the German American Chamber of Commerce in Philadelphia; Andrea Tinianow, director of Global Delaware; and Michael Marquardt, global adviser to the Department of State.

Gov. Markell last took part in a foreign trade trip in 2013, when he visited Israel. He traveled to Switzerland in May for the 45th St. Gallen Symposium, a meeting of business and political leaders. His travel costs then were covered by the organizers.

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