Granholm Touts Michigan to Foreign Press

Contact: Liz Boyd 517-335-6397

July 28, 2005

Governor: Michigan will lead U.S. in High-Tech Jobs and Growth

LANSING – In a speech to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today said that international life sciences, advanced automotive, and alternative energy companies looking to expand or invest in the United States should make Michigan their first choice.

“If you are a business anywhere in the world that wants to succeed in the auto, life sciences, or alternative energy industries, you must come to Michigan to succeed” said Granholm.  “Bring your business to the automotive capital of the world.  Bring your business to a state where you can work with an exceptional workforce alongside the globe’s greatest research institutions.  Bring your business to the epicenter of research and development.  Bring your business to Michigan and succeed with us.”

Granholm said that Michigan’s highly-skilled workforce, its reputation as the North American capital of high-tech auto research and manufacturing, and its commitment to investing in both life sciences and high-tech industry give Michigan an edge over other states.  She used her appearance before the audience of international media to dispel the myth that Michigan is a high-cost state that focuses only on manufacturing.

Granholm reminded the audience that Michigan is home to 15 public universities and is the nation’s third leading producer of engineering bachelor’s degree graduates.  Michigan has the highest percentage of engineers of any state, and more automotive research and design companies have located their international headquarters in Michigan than in any other in the United States.  The state’s focus on life sciences growth and development has spurred more than 100 companies in the last five years.  She argued that her proposal to cut taxes for manufacturers, research and design companies, and small businesses will help make Michigan even more attractive to international businesses.

“We’re reshaping Michigan’s economy to be the 21st century center of growth in automotive manufacturing, the life sciences, and alternative energy development,” said Granholm.  “We have the highly-skilled workforce, highly-respected research universities, and the high quality of life that so many international companies are seeking.  We’re making our tax structure and our regulatory system more attractive to businesses, and we offer a highly-trained, highly-educated workforce that’s ready to provide the highest-quality products right now.”

In a global economy, Granholm said, companies can locate their business anywhere.  Michigan’s history, workforce, and vision make Michigan a smart choice for international investors.

“Globalization offers Michigan, more than any other state, the possibility and the probability of becoming North America’s next great center of growth and opportunity,” Granholm said.  “Our history traces the rise of the global automotive industry.  Our highly trained workforce and renowned research institutions give us, uniquely, the know-how to succeed.  Our vision is one that embraces globalization and change.”

Granholm also addressed new challenges and opportunities in the 21st century facing both Japan and Michigan as mature industrial economies.   Granholm cited important links between their respective economies, noting that some 600 divisions, affiliates and subsidiaries of Japanese companies operate in Michigan.  These companies employ about 100,000 Michigan citizens and contribute $8 billion to the state’s economy.  Major Michigan companies, such as Ford, General Motors, Dow Chemical, and Stryker, are similarly seeking to grow their businesses in Japan.

Despite significant manufacturing job loss in both Japan and Michigan, the Governor said new opportunities are becoming apparent, especially in high-tech industries and applications that require intensive intellectual capital and innovation.   Detailing her five-point economic plan, Granholm discussed Michigan’s commitment to building an exceptional workforce by expanding access to higher education, making Michigan more competitive by restructuring business taxes, and diversifying Michigan’s economy by investing $2 billion in the industries of the future.

Granholm is the only governor to be invited to speak before the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Japan so far in 2005.  She was invited to discuss, from a first-hand perspective, the current and future prospects of the North American automotive industry, a topic of high interest and attention in Japan.

The Governor is in Japan on a five-day investment mission to forge stronger alliances with the leadership of that country’s automotive and new technology companies and to attract new, job-creating business developments to Michigan.  She will meet with more than 150 Japanese company leaders through individual meetings, a reception, and seminars to promote Michigan’s automotive and life sciences industries.

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