Today I want to report on my current international trip as I make the case that Arkansas is a great place to do business.
This trip has taken me to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and to India. While some question the need to pursue foreign investment in Arkansas, I am more convinced than ever of the importance of showcasing Arkansas and all that we have to offer. We must continue pursuing high-quality investments in our state.
But trips such as this also give us an opportunity to support our existing industry.
Earlier in the week, we helped celebrate the opening of a new office for First Orion in Dubai. First Orion is a fast-growing technology company located in Arkansas.
And then on Tuesday, I met with the CEO and managing directors of Welspun in their corporate offices in Mumbai. Welspun is in the textile business, but in 2009, the company opened a steel-pipe manufacturing facility in our state that today employs over 1,000 Arkansans. Welspun is just one example of foreign investment that is paying real dividends by creating good-paying jobs as a business leader in the state.
At the meeting with Welspun, our new Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston and I made the case to the CEO of Welspun that Arkansas will be a good partner for future business opportunities. Mike also is the director of our state’s economic development agency.
On Thursday, I met with the leaders of 10 different companies who are considering investments in the United States. I told them they will not find a better place to invest and manufacture products than Arkansas. I cited our skilled workforce, our central location, our easy access to waterways and interstates, and our great quality of life.
On the same day, we signed a Mutual Cooperation Agreement with the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce. This provides a path for cooperation and encourages investment between private sector businesses and Arkansas.
Friday, we met with more leaders of industry. And we spread the good news about Arkansas in interviews with Indian media. This is just a sample of our five days of work with a variety of businesses that ranged from technology firms to machine manufacturers.
I have two abiding thoughts as I travel back to Little Rock. First, there is no place in the world that comes close to matching what we have in Arkansas. I am ready to be home. Second, our future is filled with opportunity. These are exciting days, and there is more yet to come as our economy expands and our population grows.