ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — West Virginia Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette said Monday the current European Trade Mission being led by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has gone better than expected.

“Our meetings have been above what we anticipated,” Burdette said during a conference call with West Virginia reporters Monday morning.

Burdette, Tomblin and others have been in 8 different cities in 5 different countries (Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy) since Oct. 10. The mission is scheduled to end Tuesday.

Gov. Tomblin said he’s been in meetings with 23 new companies who he hopes will come to West Virginia and 8 companies that already do business here. Tomblin said the face-to-face meetings have paid off. He said several of those were in the actual plants where production takes place.

“We asked them, ‘Is there anything we can do as a state in order to encourage expansions in West Virginia?'”Tomblin said.

The governor said there was one meeting with a company in France that had never before been visited by a governor from the U.S.

“We spent 45 minutes with them and it seemed like their ears were perking up. We hope that turns into a real win for us,” the governor said.

Tomblin added they’ve talked about energy, building products, plastics and chemicals in the various meetings. 

“We will be able to announce some solid prospects in the next few days,” Tomblin predicted.

Sec. Burdette called the trip the most aggressive trade mission ever by a West Virginia governor.

Monday’s video conference call originated from the state’s new European Trade Office in Zurich, Switzerland. Tomblin said they’ve saved money by closing the office in Munich, Germany and moving to Zurich, the financial center of Europe.

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  • Joe

    Right-to-work legislation and reforming the current prevailing wage laws will domore than anything to improve economic investment in WV.

    • Conchop

      Oh - I know - lets get rid of the minimum wage too. Of course with all the prisoners sleeping on the jailhouse floor, we could rent them out as slave labor. Then there's those pesky child labor laws - reckon those ought to go.

      Anything to make the rich, richer, eh ...

      • Joe

        Man.....a bit of a chip on your shoulder or what? Let me guess, you're a "working person". Your response to a straightforward opinion is way out of line.

        Guess what....we are all working people.

  • rick

    West Virginia has a lot to offer businesses if they want to come. A lack of infrastructure holds us back somewhat. Transportation is still an issue. We need to complete and update some of our roads and rail systems. The river traffic is pretty good.

  • What happened to WV?

    Get rid of the B&O tax!!! This has been discouraging businesses from coming to WV for years.

    • Spell Checker

      I know the state chamber of commerce/Tea Party won't believe this but here goes: it would be irresponsible and shortsighted to eliminate a tax without making up the shortfall in another fashion.

      What would replace the business and occupation tax? I seriously doubt that the world will beat a path to West Virginia's door should the business and occupation tax be eliminated.

      • RogerD

        The Chamber of Commerce and Tea Party are NOT in concert in most all issues, including Obamacare, Amnesty, and others. Given how the establishment Republicans and Chamber has attacked the Tea Party, you shouldn't expect the Tea Party to support ant of their initiatives.