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Salt Lake City—Gov. Gary R. Herbert, along with a team of business executives and government officials, departed for Amsterdam last week on a trade mission to Western Europe conducted by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED).
“More than 95 percent of Utah's customers live outside the United States, and we are eager to do business with them," said Gov. Herbert. “Western Europe and the state of Utah share strong economic and cultural ties, but there is room to build upon that foundation. During the trade mission we will strengthen existing relationships and foster new ones to promote business and investment growth in Utah.”
The trade mission, which runs June 6-16, kicks off with a direct flight from Salt Lake City to Amsterdam. Delta Air Lines recently added the direct flight to their daily schedule, forging another strong connection to Europe that will prove vital in both tourism and international business opportunities. The mission will cover a total of five countries: the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and France.
“The EU continues to provide significant opportunities for the state,” said Brett Heimburger, director of the GOED International Trade and Diplomacy Office (ITDO), which organizes trade missions. “The region is really the number one source of investment into Utah. As our economy continues to grow and attract capital from around the world, our relationship with Europe will continue to expand. This mission provides an opportunity for the Gov. Herbert to accelerate that growth.”
Europe accounts for 87 percent of foreign investment in Utah, and the state exports more goods to the European Union than it does to China, Japan, Korea and India combined. In addition to that, the EU generates 20 percent of overall international tourism spending in the state. Outside of economics, more than 80 percent of the Utah ethnic makeup is of European descent.
The state has honorary consuls for each of the five countries—David G. Murrell of Salt Lake City was named Honorary Consul of Luxembourg for Utah just last year. Today, the state enjoys eight sister city relations with European cities and one sister state agreement with Saarland, Germany, each relationship fostering economic growth and good will. The Saarland’s economic development agency (gwSaar) also serves as the State’s trade representative in Europe, primarily to drive EU investment into Utah.
“The sister state agreement between Utah and Saarland enables ideal support in the field of foreign trade and technological development for companies on both sides,” said Thomas Schuck, CEO of Saarland Economic Promotion Corporation and trade representative of the state of Utah in the European Union. “We are more than happy to be appointed as the trade representative. To support Utah is now part of our daily business.”
The five-country trade mission agenda includes meetings with ambassadors, mayors, ministers, and educational and business leaders. The itinerary of events is strategically designed to bolster tourism, education and business opportunities for groups on all sides.
“Participating in a trade mission provides me with two great opportunities,” said Tom Jacobson, of Tom Jacobson Law in Park City. “First, I have the opportunity to promote the fantastic business and cultural environment of Utah, and second, I can assist both foreign commerce and local businesses in finding mutually beneficial and long-lasting business relationships. Being proactive in promoting our state assures us of a healthy business, cultural and personal environment benefiting us many years into the future.” Jacobson’s firm specializes in business law, and he has traveled with numerous trade missions in the past.
This year’s delegation includes more than 20 representatives. Multiple Utah businesses, from startups like Brog’s Product Development to large companies like Vivint and doTERRA will be represented, along with educational institutions and other organizations. The trade mission’s sponsors include GOED, Deseret Media Corporation, World Trade Center Utah and Zions Bank. ITDO is partnering with multiple local European business chambers as well as universities to create opportunities for the various members of the delegation.
The trade mission will conclude with the International Paris Air Show, which will feature exhibits from multiple companies with offices or headquarters in Utah, including Boeing, Kaddas, IMSAR and SyberJet.
Organizations Represented in the Utah Trade Mission to Western Europe:
World Trade Center Utah
University of Utah
Salt Lake Chamber
Utah Technology Council
Economic Development Corporation of Utah
Brog’s Product Development
Utah Science Technology and Research agency
Deseret Management Corporation
Deseret Digital Media
Utah State University
Impact Hub Salt Lake