Less than a month after returning from an "earth-shaking" trip to Japan, Maryland economic development officials are planning a prospecting mission to Switzerland and West Germany.
The 10-day Japan trip not only resulted in 14 prospects and another five "hot prospects," but the five members of the delegation also survived two earthquakes, said Jerry McDonald, director of the Office of Business and Industrial Development.
In addition, a delegation of Japanese government officials will meet with Maryland Gov. Harry Hughes this week and tour the state, McDonald said.
This latest European mission, consisting of 19 public- and private-sector officials, will arrive in Frankfurt on Saturday and meet with representatives of engineering, data-processing, electrical-component and precision-instrument firms in Stuttgart, Munich and Zurich. It follows similar ventures in China, Europe, Canada, California and major cities in the Northeast to lure businesses to Maryland.
During the Japan trip last month two state representatives and three officials from Montgomery, Prince Geoge's and Anne Arundel counties visited 30 large and medium-sized high-technology, medical instrument electronics and trading firms in eight days, McDonald said.
The state representatives also held talks with Nissan Motor Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. officials to discuss possible location of offices of plants in Maryland. The officials however, didn't discuss automobile assembly plants because the companies already have their own consultants looking at areas, McDonald said.
Since the Japan visit, McDonald said one Japanese firm has visited the area and another will arrive on Sunday. McDonald wouldn't name the firms.
In addition, state officials helped cement a sister-state relationship with the Kanagawa perfecture, a state-like jurisdiction south of Tokyo and containing the Yokohama harbor. That relationship will be formalized when Kanagawa's vice governor and other officials visit the state this week McDonald said.