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VOL. 40 | NO. 2 | Friday, January 8, 2016

Tennessee plans to open offices to recruit foreign business

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NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee officials are working to recruit more foreign businesses to the state.

Plans call for the state Department of Economic and Community Development to open an office in Seoul, South Korea, early this year in an effort to attract more Asian businesses.

Commissioner Randy Boyd told WPLN (http://bit.ly/1mvdwf4) that he also plans to open an office in China and wants to open officers in Germany and Italy.

"Businesses in Italy or in China don't know that much about Tennessee," he said. "They may not even be able to find us on a map, so just hoping that they might show up at our door one day and decide to locate here is pretty unrealistic."

He said an office in Germany would give the state more access to that country's automotive industry and an office in Italy could recruit ceramic tile businesses.

"We've got a couple of companies already from northern Italy" in Tennessee, Boyd says. "It turns out, because of our clay and other natural resources, this is a great place for ceramics."

Boyd says year-round recruiting offices are more likely to attract foreign businesses to the state than annual visits to other countries.

"We can do mission trips, but just sending over people for one or two weeks a year is not going to be terribly effective," he said.

He credited a recruiting office the state has had in Japan for 15 years with helping to recruit 182 companies that do business in Tennessee.

"We could have one person knocking on doors every day, 10 times a day for the next 20 years, in each of the markets that we're looking at," he said.

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