Strengthening ties - Germany and coastal Georgia

Sep 25, 2015

SAVANNAH, GA, USA – Since identifying Germany as a target country in January 2013, World Trade Center Savannah has proactively worked to strengthen ties between the coastal Georgia region and Germany. Over the course of 2.5 years, WTC Savannah has organized seven outbound business development missions to Germany and hosted 11 German delegations in the Savannah region. The most recent outbound business development mission occurred at the beginning of September and included visits to the cities of Bremen, Halle, Munich and Nuremberg. 

Over the span of two weeks, WTC Savannah and the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) familiarized German companies and investment organizations with the existing assets of the coastal region of Georgia while also building upon relationships made from past trade missions. The visiting delegates from WTC Savannah and SEDA included:

  • Trip Tollison, Chief Executive Officer and President of SEDA and WTC Savannah
  • Jesse Dillon, Manager of Trade Development and Programs for WTC Savannah
  • Craig Lesser, Managing Partner of Pendleton Consulting Group and former Commissioner of Economic Development for the State of Georgia

Much of the recent trade mission was also spent solidifying an agenda for an upcoming WTC Savannah hosted trade mission, which will include regional economic development authority partners of the organization. The aim of the mission in December is to connect regional partners with counterparts in economic development, trade and government in Germany in order to promote and grow trade between Germany and the coastal region. The continuous face-to-face meetings are a vital step in generating long-term relationships to benefit the region and counterparts in Germany.

The initial decision to pursue Germany for trade and investment opportunities can be attributed to an in-depth analysis conducted in 2013, which determined the strongest existing connections between our region and the rest of the world. The analysis, which included both quantitative and qualitative trade data, was conducted again in August 2015. Germany consistently rose to the top in both the 2013 and 2015 analyses. Germany is the second largest import market for Georgia and the eighth largest export market. The country has also made significant investments in the coastal region with 22 German headquartered companies located here, including BASF chemical company. BASF, headquartered in Ludwigshafen, Germany is the largest chemical producer in the world and has a facility in Savannah, Georgia.

The state of Georgia also has very valuable resources to help encourage and facilitate trade with Germany. The state has a representative located in Munich, Germany who focuses solely on encouraging trade between Georgia and Europe. The German American Chamber of Commerce is also located in Atlanta and is currently working with WTC Savannah to host their 2016 annual meeting in Savannah.

As it has done for the past 2.5 years, WTC Savannah will continue to utilize its existing connections and focus marketing and sales efforts to proactively target German investment for the region as well as promote regional businesses interested in establishing trade relations with Germany. The existing resources throughout the region, the state, and the World Trade Centers Association show a clear path to creating more jobs and attracting investment for the region.

PHOTO (L-R): At World Trade Center Bremen: Andreas Heyer, Trip Tollison, Michael Hoffmann, Jesse Dillon, Craig Lesser, Andreas Gerber

For additional information on this article, please contact Kathleen Henry, Manager of Trade Services and Research at WTC Savannah, at