Corbett to lead international trade mission to expand economic opportunities in Pennsylvania

December 14, 2011

Governor Tom Corbett will lead a delegation of business leaders from Pennsylvania on a trade mission to France and Germany next spring. This effort will focus on connecting companies within the state to potential export partners and encouraging international businesses to invest in the commonwealth, according to a release from the governor's office.

The March 2012 mission will receive private funding and is organized by the Team Pennsylvania Foundation, a private non-profit partnership with the state.

"With the private-sector support of the Team Pennsylvania Foundation, I am proud to lead our business leaders on this mission to create real opportunities for economic investment and job growth," said Corbett. "While in France and Germany, we will connect our businesses with opportunities to enter new markets and will meet directly with companies that are looking at investing and creating jobs in Pennsylvania."

The two European countries represent some of the most important trade partners for the state. Combined, France and Germany represent the fourth-largest export market and the top source of foreign direct investment in Pennsylvania.

According to the release, in 2010, Pennsylvania companies exported more than $767 million of goods and services to France and more than $1.4 billion to Germany. Businesses based in these two countries also employ a significant number of workers in the state.

The Department of Community and Economic Development's (DCED) Office of International Business Development (OIBD) is currently working to secure several investment projects from the two countries. Governor Corbett and DCED Secretary C. Alan Walker will work with international representatives with OIBD to help attract more projects and jobs.

According to the release, a great example of a successful partnership is the France-based Alstom Group. The company chose a site in Charleroi, Pennsylvania, to manufacture its disconnect switches, bringing $8 million in investment and 30 new jobs to the state.

"We considered many factors in choosing a new location for U.S. manufacturing of our disconnect switch products," said Alstom Grid's North America Regional Vice President Keith Stentiford. "We looked at availability and quality of the local workforce, wage rates, proximity to customers and suppliers, available sub-contractors for manufacturing industries, and of course the proximity to our existing operations in Charleroi."

The 25,000-square-foot facility manufactures the disconnect switches and relies on "a highly-skilled local talent pool with decades of experience in high-voltage equipment," according to a company release.