LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Rick Snyder said his visit to a massive industrial trade show in Germany and his planned stops in other European countries are helping him highlight Michigan as a site of cutting-edge manufacturing research that can attract foreign business to the state.
The governor said Tuesday that he made 34 stops Monday at Hannover Messe, the world's largest industrial technology event. In visits with manufacturing suppliers and organizations, he touted Detroit's turnaround and two federally-funded research facilities in the city — the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation and the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute — that specialize in advanced composites and lightweight materials for automobiles and planes.
"It's a good chance to make sure they're aware of what's going on in Michigan with these institutes and encourage them to say, 'You should want to be located near those spots given you want to be in North America most likely,'" Snyder told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Dusseldorf before traveling to Switzerland. He also will visit Italy and the Netherlands on the weeklong trade mission that includes a delegation of state and local economic development officials.
Leaders from seven Michigan companies also are participating in the mission — Snyder's first since the lead-contaminated water crisis erupted in Flint last fall.
He said he remains "highly committed" to the city even while outside the country, saying he gets regular updates and is confident in his team addressing the disaster.
The governor said it is a "big plus" that overseas business leaders' perspective on Detroit continues improving after the city's emergency from bankruptcy in 2014. Another positive is that the U.S. is seen as a "good place" to sell products, he said, especially after a record year for auto sales here and a slowdown in China and slump in South America.
Like in past trade trips, Snyder had no company expansions to report yet during the mission. Specific investments typically are announced at a later date.
Also Tuesday, the Michigan Strategic Fund approved tax breaks or state grants for four projects that are expected to bring more than $1.5 billion in investment, create 907 jobs and retain 245 jobs. They include Ford Motor Co.'s plan to spend $1.4 billion to build a new 10-speed transmission at its Livonia plant, adding 500 jobs, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp.