“While this meeting comes at a time of uncertainty in the transatlantic relationship, Massachusetts is open for business,” Sen. Lesser said
BOSTON— Senator Eric P. Lesser joined Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler, Senator Eileen Donoghue, Representative Lori Ehrlich and other House and Senate colleagues in hosting a German delegation to discuss Mass.-Germany trade ties on Monday.
The discussion touched on several issues, including collaborations that could be established between German and Mass. universities and clean energy companies. The delegation also asked questions of the Senate organizers about the Mass. economic landscape and about how the state’s government works.
Germany is the fourth-largest global destination for Massachusetts exports and German-based companies support about 18,600 jobs in the state — including those at Leoni Wire in Chicopee, part of Lesser’s district.
Lesser noted in his comments to the delegation that Mass. lawmakers could learn from the innovative vocational training programs for which Germany is well-known, and also described what makes Western Mass. a strong investment for interested German companies.
“While Germany is famous for its own automobile exports, Springfield was home to Indian Motorcycle and American Bosch,” said Senator Lesser, who serves as the Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. “While this meeting comes at a time of uncertainty in the transatlantic relationship, Massachusetts is open for business.”
Lesser listed a well-educated workforce, growing advanced manufacturing, an innovative biotech industry and tourism as some of the leading business opportunities in the state.
Lesser organized the meeting along with his House counterpart on the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, Rep. Joseph F. Wager; Senator Donoghue and Rep. Ehrlich, Senate and House chairs of the Joint Committee on Export Development; and Senator Chandler.
“This was a great first meeting with the delegation and I believe that it is important to continue the conversation after today,” said Senate Majority Leader Harriette L. Chandler. “Thank you to the delegation and the Chairs of the Joint Committee on Economic Development & Emerging Technologies and the Joint Committee on Export Development for paying attention to this matter. The meeting offered hope for mutual investment and collaboration. Massachusetts is committed to an open and engaged relationship with Europe and the wider world.”
“It was a privilege to meet with the delegation from Baden-Württemberg. Our states have much in common—from our cutting-edge industries to our world-renowned universities—so we can learn a great deal from one another,” said Senator Eileen Donoghue, who serves as the Senate chair of the newly formed Joint Committee on Export Development. “During this session the export development committee will explore new opportunities for Massachusetts to build mutually beneficial partnerships with places like Baden-Württemberg.”
Senate President Rosenberg spearheaded the creation of the Committee on Export Development, and noted that this was the first committee of its kind that he was aware of in a state legislature in the U.S.
“It’s very exciting to begin our work with all stakeholders to cultivate new markets in Germany for our export-ready products,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg. “Massachusetts and Germany have strong economies grounded in higher education and which excel in innovations in technology. By working together, we can help grow a more efficient, greener economy that works better in both Massachusetts and Germany.”
The German delegation was from the state of Baden-Württemberg, in southwest Germany, which borders Switzerland and France and includes the city of Stuttgart.
Andreas Deuschle served as the head of the delegation and is Chairman of the Science, Research and Art Committee in Baden-Württemberg’s state parliament — essentially Lesser’s counterpart in his state’s parliament.
Theresia Bauer, Minister for Science, Research and the Arts, the equivalent of a state cabinet position, also attended, along with 16 members of the state parliament who serve on the Science, Research and Art Committee.
The German delegation’s trip was organized by German Consul General Ralf Horlemann and Innovation Officer Marte Kessler, who serve in the German Consulate in Boston.