Arkansas Economic Development Commission

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Governor Hutchinson hosts luncheon in Houston with 13 Consuls General

Consuls play a key role in international economic development projects

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (May 26, 2017) – Governor Asa Hutchinson today hosted a luncheon in Houston, Texas, for consuls general from 14 countries. State economic development officials joined the Governor at the luncheon, which was coordinated as a way to continue to build relationships and mutual familiarity with the consuls, several of whom have played key roles in assisting Arkansas with recruiting international companies to the state.

Consuls in attendance represented Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Singapore, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, and Vietnam.

“The economic opportunities international companies bring to our state has tremendous potential, and fostering our relationships with consulates is one more way we can continue to build Arkansas’ reputation worldwide,” said Hutchinson. “As we meet with international leaders, we have a great story to share on the momentum in Arkansas’ economy.”   

Over the last five years, foreign direct investment in Arkansas has grown 41.5 percent. Four Chinese companies have announced plans over the last 13 months to locate facilities in Arkansas. These four companies – Sun Paper, Tianyuan Garments Company, Pet Won Pet Products and Shandong Ruyi Technology Company – will result in approximately $1.5 billion in new capital investment and 1,520 new jobs, mostly in rural areas of the state.

“The announcement of Shandong Ruyi Technology Company earlier this month was the largest job creation announcement in the history of Arkansas’ Delta Region,” said Mike Preston, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. “This company alone will create 800 new positions at their facility in Forrest City. This is a great example of the impact our international recruitment efforts can have on the state’s economy.”

Approximately 46,400 Arkansans are currently employed by nearly 450 foreign-owned firms. Sixteen of the 118 projects signing incentive agreements with AEDC in 2015 were by foreign-owned corporations. Cumulatively, these projects created 524 new jobs.

Arkansas currently maintains offices in China, Japan, and Germany. These offices identify foreign companies looking to expand in the U.S. while growing relationships with the international companies that already have a presence in the state.

More information on Arkansas’ international business efforts can be found at www.arkansasedc.com/divisions/international-business.