November 2015 Column: Foreign Direct Investment- Sweet Home Alabama
Foreign Direct Investments have changed the course of our state and put Alabama on the map internationally.
The first-ever National Aerospace Foreign Direct Investment Expo was held in Los Angeles, California last week hosted by the Aerospace States Association and the U.S. Department of Commerce. I was honored to attend the expo as the Chair of the Aerospace States Association along with several fellow Lt. Governors. Officials from more than 25 states and 20 countries attended seeking foreign investment opportunities in the United States aerospace manufacturing sector.
I was so proud when Barry Eccleston, President of Airbus Americas, began his presentation with the song “Sweet Home Alabama” playing to the conference attendees. I am proud to have the first Airbus North American manufacturing plant in Mobile. The world watched and recognized when Airbus chose Alabama as their home. Airbus began assembly of the A320 family passenger jets in September of this year. At full production, they will provide 3,700 Alabamians full time jobs and an estimated annual contribution of $400 million to our state. Airbus joins more than 400 aerospace companies located in our state such as Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and GE Aviation to name a few.
Alabama is no stranger to Foreign Direct Investment. In 1993, Mercedes Benz announced production of their first passenger vehicle factory outside of Germany in Tuscaloosa. Alabama is now home to Hyundai Motor Manufacturing in Montgomery, Honda Manufacturing in Lincoln and Toyota Engine Plant in Huntsville. Alabama was not in the automotive manufacturing industry 22 years ago, now we are recognized as second in the United States in vehicle exports.
Industry in Alabama is represented by 31 foreign countries totaling to 419 business investments. As Alabamians, we have a lot to be proud of the course our state has taken in obtaining business investments with foreign companies.
Foreign Direct Investments for Alabama stands for high level jobs for Alabamians and investments to sustain our state into the future. Alabama is on the move in making advances in the aerospace and automotive manufacturing industry. Companies from across the world have quickly learned the meaning of “Sweet Home Alabama” and what Made In Alabama represents.