By Steve Bittenbender | The Center Square contributor
(The Center Square) – Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb is heading to Europe next week.
A release issued from the governor’s office said Holcomb, First Lady Janet Holcomb and Commerce Secretary Brad Chambers will visit Portugal and France to deepen the state’s economic connections to those two counties. Private contributions to the Indiana Economic Development Foundation will cover the cost of the trip.
It’s the 15th time Holcomb will travel internationally as governor.
“Indiana’s economic momentum continues to build, and I couldn’t be more energized to share that message with our friends, partners and new business prospects in Europe,” Gov. Holcomb said. “France and Portugal share similar visions for building global economies of the future, and we see many opportunities for innovation and partnerships across high-tech industries like energy and motorsports that will create new opportunities for Indiana and for Hoosiers.”
The delegation is expected to arrive in Portugal on Sunday and meet with American and Portuguese officials, including Portugal’s Secretary of State for International Trade and Foreign Investment Bernardo Ivo Cruz. The two Hoosier leaders will also connect with representatives from Energias de Portugal. The Lisbon-based utility provider has three facilities in Indiana and is seeking to become a 100% green energy company by 2030. They will also lead a roundtable discussion on the state’s energy projects with the American Chamber of Commerce in Portugal.
On Wednesday, the delegation will travel to France and participate in another roundtable at the U.S. Embassy in Paris focusing on the state’s burgeoning life sciences, semiconductor and electric vehicle industries.
The trip also includes a visit to Pays de la Loire, where the governor first visited six years ago. Holcomb will participate in the opening ceremony for the 24 Hours of LeMans, a world-renowned auto race celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first round-the-clock race this year. With Indiana also a motorsports hub, state leaders will meet with companies in that sector. The delegation will also meet with French leaders, officials from businesses already with operations in the state and others that may consider the state for future investment.
Foreign investments have been key to the state’s economic growth in recent years. Last year, businesses based outside the U.S. announced projects that are expected to create about 6,500 jobs and pour $7.25 billion into the state. That equals a third of all investments the state landed in 2022.
Chambers said the data shows Indiana is a “global business destination.” There are 1,075 foreign-owned enterprises across Indiana, including 57 from France and three from Portugal.
“The continued growth of our economy and future-focused sectors relies on partners here and around the world, and I look forward to fostering these relationships and building new collaborations in France and Portugal,” Chambers said.