CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin hopes to be able to make some significant business investment announcements in the coming weeks, following his 13-day trade mission to Europe.
Tomblin, joined by state Commerce Department and Development Office officials, left Oct. 10 on the five-country trip, which wound through five countries and featured visits to two seminars, a trade show and meetings with more than 30 companies.
"I think it's been a very productive several days," Tomblin said Monday morning. "It's been kind of a whirlwind tour, but the companies we've met with have been very positive."
Tomblin spoke to reporters during a video conference from the state's new European development office in Zurich, Switzerland.
Tomblin had just come from a lunch with the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce, which represents about 40 businesses that do business between the two countries.
Additionally, the governor has met with representatives from eight businesses currently doing business in the state -- including Constellium, Saint-Gobain, and Pietro Fiorentini -- as well as contacts from 23 other businesses that are currently mulling investments in the United States.
Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette said the trip has been the state's "most aggressive trade mission ever."
"It's the most companies, the most cities that any governor has visited on one trade mission ever," Burdette said.
Prior trade missions have focused on one country or a few cities in a small region. So far, Tomblin and state officials have had meetings with business contacts in Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.
While state officials are in continuous talks over the phone or internet with foreign companies about investment opportunities, Tomblin said visiting the companies and talking to executives face-to-face makes a more significant impression.
"I just think the fact that going there and showing them that we want to do business with them is very important," he said.