LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) – Governor Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) Executive Director Mike Preston will travel to France, Germany, and Israel June 17-24 on an economic mission to meet with business and government leaders in an effort to bring more jobs to Arkansas.
 
This is the Governor and Preston’s sixth international economic mission. They made one trip to China and Japan, one trip to Cuba and returned to China.  This is their third time to travel to Europe.
 
In 2015, just days after returning from a similar trip, Governor Hutchinson announced Aerojet Rocketdyne’s plans to expand its facility in Calhoun County, adding 85 new full-time employees and investing $18 million in the facility. The Governor finalized expansion plans with the company during a meeting at the 2015 Paris Air Show. 
 
The first stop of this trip will be the Paris Air Show where the strength of the state’s aerospace sector will be the focus of numerous meetings with prospective companies and leaders of aerospace companies that already have a presence in Arkansas. Meetings outside of the air show have also been scheduled with companies based in France. There are currently 13 French-owned companies with 25 locations in Arkansas, employing 3,700 people. 
 
“For Arkansas to attract higher paying jobs and generate growth in the ever-changing global economy, it is imperative that we continue to meet international business leaders considering expanding in the U.S.,” said Governor Hutchinson. “These international jobs missions have played a significant role in some recent high-profile announcements. For example, we established and grew our relationship with Ruyi Technology Company during two job recruitment missions to China. Ruyi recently announced the largest single job creation project in the history of Arkansas’ Delta Region, which will result in 800 new jobs in Forrest City.” 
 
Following meetings in France, Governor Hutchinson and Preston will travel to Germany where they will meet with German companies that already have a presence in the state while also holding meetings with new prospective companies.  Among foreign-based employers doing business in Arkansas, Germany ranks number one in terms of total operations in the state with 23 German-owned companies operating 34 locations, employing 1,600 people.
 
The last stop on the trip will be Israel, a country with growing markets in the technology and defense sectors, both of which are vital to Arkansas’ economy. This is a new market for Arkansas as no Israeli companies currently have operations in the state.
 
“Foreign direct investment jobs in Arkansas have grown by more than 41 percent over the last five years,” said Preston. “The number of international companies with operations in Arkansas continues to increase, and the overall volume of exports from Arkansas has risen over the past five years. The significance of this activity can be seen in the 46,400 Arkansans that are employed as a result of global investment.”
 
A total of 450 international employers have operations in Arkansas according to the Organization for International Investment. 
 
As part of the state’s effort to build relationships with international companies, AEDC maintains offices in Germany, China and Japan.
 
16 of the 118 projects which signed financial assistance agreements with AEDC in 2015 were by foreign-owned corporations. Cumulatively, these projects proposed the creation/retention of 524 jobs.
 
 

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