State Representative Brenda Shields, R-St. Joseph, is the only state representative on an overseas trade mission with Gov. Mike Parson. Parson is leading the trade mission to Germany and the Netherlands, pitching Missouri as a state in which to invest.
Shields said that when she speaks with German business leaders, she can point to the success of Boehringer Ingelheim and Schuetz Container Systems in St. Joseph as a reason to consider Missouri.
“Well, I think that I will show them the success that they’ve had here in St. Joseph, that Missouri is really open for business and that we will really work to make sure that we can provide the things that you need to be able to grow your business here in Missouri,” Shields said to KFEQ/St. Joseph Post.
Shields said leaders from both Boehringer and Schuetz have indicated the companies could seek to expand their presence in St. Joseph. Boehringer employs 900 and Schuetz employs 100 in St. Joseph.
The Missouri trade mission plans to speak with 12 German companies and seven from the Netherlands about the possibility of investing in Missouri.
This is Parson’s fourth international trade mission and first since the lifting of coronavirus pandemic sanctions. Parson said there is a lot of interest from foreign companies considering investing in Missouri.
“Matter of fact, we’ve had more requests for meetings that we can go to,” Parson told Missourinet affiliate KDRO in Sedalia. “We’re looking forward to it. We think we’re going to have some good news when we come back.”
Shields said the experience of Boehringer and Schuetz in St. Joseph is a real selling point.
“I think we have a proven record to show that we work great with both of these countries to help them expand their presence in Missouri,” Shields said.
Shields said it’s important to get out and meet leaders in person after the coronavirus pandemic shut down such trips.
“I think all deals in person are more successful,” according to Shields. “I think being able to talk to people face-to-face, to be able to work with them, to be able to shake their hand, and make those types of connections are incredibly important. I think that this is long overdue.”
Missouri exports nearly $700 million in goods to Germany and more than $223 million to the Netherlands.
Members of the trade mission plan to meet with leaders in pharmaceuticals, agriculture, recycling, and other industries.
The July 23-30 trip is being funded by the Hawthorn Foundation, a Missouri nonprofit organization.
By Brent Martin of Missourinet affiliate KFEQ in St. Joseph
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