German trade mission stops in N.H.
As part of an international trade mission, about 20 companies from Brandenburg, Germany, spent three days in New Hampshire to explore potential business opportunities and partnerships with local companies."They were only going to spend a few hours in New Hampshire," said Dawn Wivell, director of the International Trade Resource Center, which hosted the delegation with the Strategic Security Alliance and the National Infrastructure Institute. "But when they learned more about our industries and our business climate, they chose only to stop in New Hampshire."In the Granite State from May 1-3, the Brandenburg- and Berlin-based companies were matched with about 25 similar companies from around the state. The companies represented a range of industries, but most are from the technology field, ranging in scope from aerospace manufacturing to green technologies to medical devices, said Wivell.A few of the German companies have already expressed interest in finding manufacturing partners in the state or setting up a potential U.S. headquarters here, she said.The three-day mission also included a meeting between Gov. John Lynch, Department of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner George Bald and Brandenburg Minister-President Matthias Platzeck and his officials; as well as an evening reception on May 3 at the Portsmouth Harbor Events Center.Brandenburg - which is one of the 16 Länder, or states, of Germany - is about double the size of New Hampshire, with a population of 2.6 million."They feel quite at home here in New Hampshire," said Wivell. "They found a lot of similarities in geography, work ethic, and efficiency."This mission was especially important to the state, said Wivell, since Germany is New Hampshire's fourth-largest trading partner, with $223 million in exports in 2010, said Wivell. There are currently 21 German-owned companies in the Granite State.The Brandenburg delegation's next stop is to Montreal, where it will wrap up its mission on May 7.In the last several months, the ITRC also has welcomed smaller groups from Chile, Russia, Pakistan and Algeria to New Hampshire. The next big delegation will be held the first week of June and will welcome about 30 companies and young entrepreneurs from Indonesia."It's pretty awesome to have a delegation come here, because you're meeting foreign partners or buyers without having to leave the state," said Wivell. -- KATHLEEN CALLAHAN/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW