Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm Thursday kicked off her investment mission to France and Sweden with a speech before the American Chamber of Commerce highlighting Michigan’s new energy economy and Michigan’s success in becoming the North American capital of the advanced battery industry.
Said the governor: “The overwhelmingly positive response I have received from European business executives demonstrates Michigan’s advantages: a highly skilled workforce, a competitive business climate and an aggressive plan to diversify our economy.”
The American Chamber in France is a private, nonprofit economic organization whose mission is to help unite French and American firms to promote bilateral investment. It is the oldest and fastest-growing American chamber in the region and includes representatives of companies with operations in Michigan, including General Electric, Dow, LaFarge, Delphi and others.
Granholm also met with executives from Valeo, which opened its Highland Park manufacturing plant last June. The Paris-based auto supplier operates in 27 countries and employs more than 52,000 worldwide. Currently on display at the Paris Auto Show is an electric car Valeo created for the exhibition. More generally, Valeo offers technology for reduction of CO2 emissions and is developing a wide range of products for internal combustion engine vehicles and hybrids. In Highland Park, the Valeo Front End Module Division offers product support to Chrysler and General Motors. VFEM has leased 75,000 square feet of space in the Oakland Park Industrial Center and plans to invest up to $3 million in upgrades and equipment associated with the facility launch and production requirements. VFEM chose to locate in Michigan over a competing site in Ontario.
“Michigan has a great story to tell, and telling it in person to top-level executives enables us to spread the message to companies all over the world that Michigan is a great place to do business,” Granholm said.
This mission to France and Sweden is the governor’s 11th overseas investment mission since 2004. Her previous missions to Austria, Belgium, Germany, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Italy and Sweden have resulted in 48 companies announcing over $1.8 billion in new investment in Michigan and 20,699 (9,244 direct) jobs created and retained.
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