In the midst of an overseas trade mission, Gov. Asa Hutchinson spoke to reporters Wednesday about his meetings with industry leaders in Germany and France. Via teleconference from Frankfurt, Germany, Hutchinson said he’s trying to quell anxiety among European business leaders who are concerned about the anti-globalist rhetoric of President Donald Trump.
“Europe has always looked to the United States as the world leader in the economy, in terms of trade and in terms of defense,” Hutchinson said. “And so they’re very careful to the nuances of our dialogue and anything that indicates a retreat from that causes them concern. But my message is has really been timely for them and reassuring for them.”
Hutchinson said he has met with leaders of the Chemtura Corporation, which owns a bromine production facility in El Dorado, as well as the SMS Group, a steel supply company that works with Big River Steel in Osceola.
“It’s not just about supporting the new industries though and a message for what’s happening in Arkansas. It’s also about new opportunity,” he said.
Arkansas Economic Development Director Mike Preston joined Hutchinson on the press call. The Republican governor’s trip also included a visit to the Paris Air Show. He said he had given remarks earlier in the evening to employees of Citigroup at a town-hall event in Frankfurt. Hutchinson’s itinerary still includes a visit to Israel, where has said he’ll be meeting with leaders of technology companies. Hutchinson has made nearly a half-dozen foreign trade trips during his tenure.