Snyder leaves Saturday for weeklong trade trip to Germany and Italy

Mar 28, 2014

Gov. Rick Snyder
Credit Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Gov. Rick Snyder is headed to Europe this weekend. It’s the second trade mission he’s taken to Germany and Italy since taking office. He’s also taken three trade trips to Asia.

“I think everyone acknowledges the world is only becoming more global,” Snyder said.

Snyder says he’ll focus on the automotive and manufacturing industries during this weeklong trip.

He wants to increase Michigan exports and convince foreign companies that Michigan is the place for them to expand, particularly in the automotive industry.

“We’ve done a great job with that historically. But there’s more opportunity particularly by going to Italy. If you look at companies like Fiat and Chrysler coming together, there’s a question of what’s going on with their supply base,” Snyder said. “Can we encourage more to come to Michigan?”

State officials say Michigan is home to more than 350 German companies and 40 Italian companies that employ about 72,000 Michigan residents.

The Republican governor told the Associated Press the trip is an “opportunity to clear up old information” abroad and promote Michigan’s recovering economy.

Snyder says his previous European trade trip two years ago was a big success.

“It’s not just about adding jobs, but they actually helped us create a program called MAT2, Michigan Advanced Technician Training. It’s this apprenticeship program that’s very exciting. We really brought the model back from Germany and made a Michigan version of it,” Snyder said.

Graduates of that program here earn an associate’s degree, a German certification that many manufacturers in that country require.

PLUG: My colleague, Tracy Samilton, took a more in-depth look at the program here.

Snyder included the MAT2 program in a list of examples where the previous trade mission paid off.

  • Brose, a supplier of mechatronic components and electric motor drives for vehicle bodies and interiors, announced in May 2012 it was acquiring the former Chrysler Mopar site on Bell Road in New Boston, with a total investment of $60 million and 450 new jobs at the new facility as well as at its Auburn Hills and Warren locations. Brose was awarded a $3.5 million Michigan Business Development Program incentive for the project.
  • MAHLE Industries, one of the world’s leading automotive and engine component manufacturers, announced in June 2012 it was investing $11 million to expand its technical headquarters in Farmington Hills and consolidate its Canadian operations to Michigan. The expansion resulted in approximately 50 new full time engineering and technical jobs.
  • Hark Orchids located its first U.S. facility in Kalamazoo, establishing a 30,000 sq. ft. lab and climatic chambers facility, investing approximately $5 million and creating 80 new jobs in the next three to five years. Founded in 1904, Hark Orchids is a family-owned orchid propagation company offering hybridization, cultivation and propagation of orchids.