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.