As part of his trade mission to Europe, Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday visited Düsseldorf, Germany where he attended the METEC Trade Fair.
During his time in Düsseldorf, the governor met with several prospective companies with an interest in expansion in North America, officials with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission said in a news release.
METEC, held once every four years, is an exhibition event for steel technology and focuses on castings, foundry technology, metallurgy and thermo process technology.
By visiting the show, the governor said he made valuable contacts in Arkansas’s growing metals sector, specifically the steel industry.
Nearly 500 exhibitors from 33 countries and more than 19,000 visitors attended the 2011 METEC Trade Fair, officials said.
Mississippi County is the third largest steel producing county in the nation; while, job growth in Arkansas’s steel sector has increased by 39% since 2009. Nucor has major operations in Northeast Arkansas and Big River Steel will soon be coming online in the region.
“Our time in Germany allows us to meet with German companies that already have a presence in Arkansas to thank them for their investment in our state,” Hutchinson said. “We have also built new relationships with a variety of steel companies through our participation at the METEC Trade Fair. The work will continue when we return to Arkansas as we now have many new contacts to follow up with in the aerospace and steel sectors.”
There are 24 German-owned companies with 39 locations in Arkansas. These companies employ more than 1,700 Arkansans in such industries as automotive parts, power tools, plastics, and steel.
The governor will leave Germany early Friday and will return to Little Rock that evening.