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Pursuing Foreign Direct Investment in Germany

 November 04, 2019

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s mission is to create economic opportunity by attracting higher paying jobs, expanding and diversifying our state and local economies, increasing incomes and investment, and generating positive growth throughout the state.  In other words, we do all we can to encourage and facilitate the creation of good jobs for Arkansans.  Part of our strategy for accomplishing this mission is to meet with companies from around the world to promote Arkansas on the global stage as a great place to do business.  Recently, I traveled to Germany to continue our efforts to promote the state of Arkansas as a foreign direct investment opportunity.

In Germany, I attended the Anuga Food Fair, the oldest and largest trade show for food and beverage companies. Anuga is ten trade shows under one roof, with each trade show representing a different segment of the industry. The 2019 fair brought together 7,590 exhibitors and 170,000 visitors in Cologne, Germany.

It was great to see Tyson Foods have a significant presence at the show.  Having one of the world’s largest food companies in the world headquartered in Arkansas is certainly a great selling point.  Tyson is one of the many companies in the food and beverage industry that are experiencing continued growth and success in Arkansas.  Other companies in the industry finding success here include Frito-Lay, Simmons, Mars, Riceland, and more.

AEDC’s Director of International Business for Europe, Cornelius Schnitzler, joined me for the trip.  Growing up in Germany, Cornelius speaks the language, understands the German business climate, and is experienced navigating the Autobahn.

Between days at the Anuga fair, we followed up with companies that have expressed interest in expanding to Arkansas. Each meeting affirmed that Arkansas is competitive for foreign direct investment opportunities, and we look forward to taking the next steps to pursue potential partnerships with each company.

In each of our meetings our message to companies was simple – Arkansas has the shovel-ready real estate, trained workforce, favorable business climate, and pro-business leadership to make an investment successful.  When we can meet companies’ needs in each of these four areas, we stand a very good chance of winning projects.

My main takeaway from this trip is that despite current concerns over trade wars and other political issues, the United States is a very attractive country for foreign investment. The United States provides economic strength and stability that makes investing here advantageous. Companies are seeking to enter the United States market, and Arkansas is a favorable place to invest. Our central location gives Arkansas a logistical advantage over other states, and our low cost of doing business makes any investment go further than it would in more expensive states. Other attributes, like our workforce and ample waterways, add to our appeal. For any business, time is money, and companies recognize the value of Arkansas’ streamlined state government and collaborative business climate.

Ultimately, trade missions are linked to direct investment in Arkansas. We continue to create opportunities by aggressively pursuing foreign direct investment with trips like this one. Governor Asa Hutchinson and Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston just returned from a trade mission to India and the UAE, and they will travel in November to China and Japan. At the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, we are prioritizing our mission to create positive growth in the state by advocating Arkansas on the global stage.

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 circle-cropped-(3)c9b86884a51947dba15eab2eecdf9722 Blog post contributed by:

Clint O'Neal
Executive Vice President of Global Business
Arkansas Economic Development Commission