Gov. Nathan Deal arrived in Switzerland on Wednesday for an economic development mission that focused on expanding business relationships there and in The Netherlands.
The mission, which will conclude today, includes Commissioner Chris Cummiskey and other representatives of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. This is the third of four business mission trips Deal will make in 2012.
“As a member of the global business community, Georgia understands the value of cultivating corporate connections both foreign and domestic,” Deal said. “It’s a pleasure to renew connections and reciprocate visits of business and government leaders who have traveled to Georgia in the past and to initiate new friendships that may lead to mutually beneficial opportunities.”
The delegation planned to visit Zurich, Basel, Bern and Amsterdam and meet with high-level government ministers and business leaders to explore business opportunities. Many of the companies on the itinerary already have operations in Georgia, including Landis + Gyr, Novartis, Habasit and RWE in Switzerland, and Vanderlande, TenCate and Philips Electronics in The Netherlands.
Georgia has cultivated relationships in this region through its international office serving the European Union. Switzerland ranks sixth among international investors in Georgia for total employment and seventh in total number of international facilities in Georgia. More than 180 Swiss companies operate in Georgia, employing more than 11,700 Georgians, and at least 18 Georgia companies have operations in Switzerland, including AGCO, CIBA Vision, Interface, Invesco, Novelis, Coca-Cola and UPS. In 2011, Georgia exports to Switzerland exceeded $98 million and imports totaled more than $390 million.
Dutch companies have established more than 250 facilities in Georgia, representing 27,900 jobs and $2.5 billion in investment. The Netherlands ranks fourth among European investors in Georgia. At least 43 Georgia companies have facilities in The Netherlands, including AGCO, Georgia-Pacific, Newell-Rubbermaid and Kimberly-Clark. The Netherlands is the 15th-largest export market for Georgia and 19th-largest import market. In 2011, the total value of trade between Georgia and The Netherlands totaled $1.25 billion.