State officials are looking into persuading industries based in Europe to move to Arkansas. Both the aerospace and firearms sectors are of particular importance.
At a recent meeting of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission the announcement was made a team of officials will travel overseas to attend the world's largest air show in the hopes of attracting more aerospace developments in Arkansas.
AEDC Director Grant Tennille said attending will help Arkansas compete with other states.
“For the last few years we have been just about the only southern state that was not represented at the air show. The reason was really pretty simple, it is expensive, it is not cheap to attend these shows in the way that you want to in order to make the impression that you need to make,” said Tennille.
While in Europe state officials will try to make the most of the expense of international travel by reaching out to other industries, including weapons manufacturers. Arkansas already has a number of firearms and ammunition manufacturing centers and Tennille said the state's concentration of that industry and the corresponding skill level of the workforce is attractive to smaller European companies looking to expand into U.S. markets.
“It tends to have a positive effect on all of the companies even if some of them compete with one another because their vendors can move closer, shorten their supply chain. So, it helps a lot with supply chain management, it can help with logistics, and most importantly it helps with the workforce,” said Tennille.
Officials expect to depart in July in time for the Farnborough International Air Show.