“Our investment mission confirmed that Michigan is well-positioned to be a world leader in alternative energy,” Granholm said. “Our natural resources, world-class universities, competitive business climate, outstanding workforce, manufacturing strength, and commitment to fostering high-growth sectors in our economy make Michigan the perfect place for international investment and job creation.”
While in Sweden, Granholm delivered a keynote address during the opening session of the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce’s Entrepreneurial Days. Granholm met with leaders of the country’s alternative energy industry, including government and company officials, in an effort to develop partnerships and encourage investment in Michigan.
The governor witnessed an historic agreement between Swedish-based Chemrec AB and Ohio-based NewPage Corporation to explore the development of a plant to produce renewable biomass-based fuels at the NewPage paper mill in Escanaba. Granholm called the agreement an example of the possibilities for partnership that exist between Swedish and Michigan firms and why she is anxious to host a summit to explore more opportunities between the two nations.
“Bringing together leading researchers and entrepreneurs from Sweden and Michigan to share ideas will increase the pace of investment in this critical sector of Michigan’s economy,” Granholm said.
U.S. Ambassador Michael Wood, a native of Flint, confirmed that a summit is in the best interests of both nations.
“Governor Granholm wants to make Michigan the center of the alternative energy business in the U.S.,” Ambassador Wood said. “The Michigan-Sweden alternative energy summit is a big step. Sweden and Michigan have a lot to offer each other in this area, as we saw during the governor’s visit here last week. It’s in the interests of both countries to develop the technologies that will help reduce our dependence on oil and address the threat of global warming. I will attend and do everything I can to promote the summit.”
In Germany, Granholm met with several companies considering expansions in North America to encourage them to choose Michigan. Granholm was heartened by the positive response business executives gave the new Michigan Business Tax (MBT), which goes into effect January 1, 2008.
The MBT provides a tax cut for more than seven out of ten Michigan businesses and will help stimulate the state’s economy by providing tax credits to companies that locate in Michigan or create new jobs in the state.
“Companies that want to invest in North America now see Michigan as a state with an aggressive economic plan and competitive business climate,” Granholm said. “This investment mission gave me a chance to meet face-to-face with nearly 60 business executives to make the case that Michigan is the right place to invest and grow jobs.”
In addition to the agreement between Chemrec and NewPage, Governor Granholm announced that:
• German-based EDAG Engineering and Design plans to invest approximately $7 million to expand its operations in Auburn Hills and Troy over the next two years, creating 140 new jobs; and
• Atlas Copco, a Swedish industrial equipment manufacturer, plans to hire 30 new electrical engineers and sales/marketing staff at its facilities in Oakland County.
The investment mission was Granholm’s fifth since 2004. Two previous investment missions to Germany and two to Japan have resulted in more than $302 million in new investments and more than 2,300 new jobs.