JEFFERSON CITY, MO (STL.News) – Missouri Governor Mike Parson has concluded his first European Trade Mission. Aligning with the administration’s focus on workforce and economic development, the overall goal of the mission was to thank our current investors, engage with international leaders, and encourage new investment in the state.
Governor Parson traveled to France, Germany, and Switzerland, meeting with several companies along the way to highlight Missouri as an ideal location for business.
“It was an honor to represent our state in Europe and meet with business and world leaders,” Governor Parson said. “Our trade mission was a good way to highlight, develop, and promote Missouri’s friendly business climate abroad. Foreign businesses with direct investment in Missouri have the same skilled workforce and accessible infrastructure needs as our Missouri business owners. This year’s legislative achievements related to these issues will help companies, Missouri or foreign owned, continue to expand and invest in our state.”
Highlights from France
While in France, Governor Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson visited the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial to honor Missouri’s fallen through a flag exchange and wreath-placing ceremony.
The Governor participated in a roundtable discussion with French CEOs and attended the 53rd Paris Airshow to meet with Missouri exhibitors, promote exports, and highlight the state’s aerospace industry.
Governor Parson also met the U.S. and Canadian Ambassadors to France, key executives of the U.S. and Canadian Industry Associations, fellow U.S. Governors, and other national and military officials.
Highlights from Germany
In Germany, Governor Parson had the opportunity to tour Bayer AG and meet with CEO Werner Baumann. Bayer is one of Missouri’s top 30 private sector employers with a strong connection to the state’s agricultural industry.
The Governor also met with executives from Henkel AG & Co., a chemical and consumer goods company that has had a presence in Missouri since the early 1970s. The company currently operates manufacturing facilities in North Kansas City, Richmond, and St. Louis.
Highlights from Switzerland
The Governor’s first stop in Switzerland was with global reinsurance company Swiss Re. The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions, and Professional Registration has a strong working relationship with Swiss Re and has assumed the role of its lead U.S. regulator. The company recently relocated its office presence to downtown Kansas City, bringing approximately 400 jobs to Missouri.
Missouri Governor Parson also toured several companies with operations in Missouri, including ABB, Leggett & Platt, Nestlé, and Lindt & Sprüngli.
ABB is a world leader in digital industries with more than 130 years of experience in manufacturing and power grid innovation. ABB manufacturing facilities in Missouri employ more than 700 in Jefferson City and more than 200 in St. Louis. Governor Parson met with several top executives of ABB and discussed existing and future plans.
Leggett & Platt is the leading U.S.-based manufacturer of furniture, auto, and bedding components. The company is based in Carthage, Missouri, with over 1,200 employees across four business units in the state. Governor Parson had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Thomas Boltshauser, CEO of Spühl, a wholly owned subsidiary of Leggett & Platt.
The Governor also met with Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider. Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company with eight Missouri locations. Nestlé Purina recently announced the expansion of its factory in Bloomfield, Missouri, where Tidy Cats brand litter is made. Nestlé facilities employ more than 3,500 Missourians in St. Louis, Chesterfield, Earth City, Gray Summit, St. Joseph, Trenton, and Bloomfield.
Governor Parson concluded the Trade Mission with a meeting with Lindt & Sprüngli CEO Dr. Dieter Weisskopf. In 2014, Lindt & Sprüngli expanded its presence in the U.S. market and acquired the traditional family business Russell Stover headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri.
“We appreciate the investments of these companies, along with many others, and are dedicated to their continued growth and success in Missouri,” Governor Parson said. “Attracting new business is key to our workforce and economic development efforts. We will continue to market Missouri and showcase our great state.”
The Hawthorn Foundation, a Missouri non-profit organization, funded the trip.