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Gov. Holcomb, Sec. Chambers to foster international business opportunities in Slovakia and Israel

BALBIR SINGH | March 19, 2022 05:49 PM

INDIANAPOLIS:Governor Eric J. Holcomb, Adjutant General R. Dale Lyles and Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers will lead an economic development trip to Slovakia and Israel beginning March 27, building on the governor's focus of increasing Indiana’s international engagement and cultivating new business relationships and people-to-people ties in central Europe and the Middle East. While encouraging collaborative opportunities to advance innovation, investment and bolster strategic relationships, the delegation will show humanitarian support during a critical time for the geopolitical situation in the region, according to Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC).

"Secretary Chambers and I are energized to strengthen relationships with global leaders and job creators while forging new partnerships to advance economic growth and further diversify our dynamic economy, " said Gov. Holcomb. "This visit also provides an opportunity to do what’s right and offer Hoosier support through humanitarian efforts to the Ukrainians who have found refuge in Slovakia and the greater region. As Hoosiers we continue to do our part from Indiana, but we have an opportunity to prove our support and commitment to Ukrainians whose lives are being directly impacted by the Russian invasion."

Gov. Holcomb, Sec. Chambers, Adjutant General Lyles and First Lady Janet Holcomb will depart for Slovakia on Sunday, March 27, and finish the trip in Israel, returning to Indiana on Saturday, April 2. This trip comes weeks ahead of Indiana hosting the inaugural Global Economic Summit, which will welcome delegations from both Slovakia and Israel.

The delegation will build on Indiana-Slovakia and Indiana-Israel ties and help inspire future economic partnerships, propel innovation and advance the global economy. Adjutant General Lyles representing the Indiana National Guard will reinforce its partnership with and support of Slovakia and Israel. The First Lady will support the economic development and humanitarian aspects of the trip while also strengthening cultural ties.

In 2018, Gov. Holcomb and the Slovak Minister of Economy signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that shares best practices and identifies opportunities to partner in advanced manufacturing, defense, automotive, energy, agriculture technology, information technology and cybersecurity.

Also in 2018, through an MOU between the IEDC and the Israel Innovation Authority, Indiana and Israel continue working to identify 21st century challenges in agbiosciences, life sciences, technology and cybersecurity and connecting respective companies to work collaboratively on developing innovative solutions.

Indiana and Slovakia share a growing trade relationship, exporting more than $1 million worth of goods to Slovakia including chemicals, computer and electronic products, machinery, petroleum and coal products, and transportation equipment. Slovakia is also home to several Indiana-based businesses, including Berry Global Group, Eli Lilly and Company and Green Cubes Technology. The Indiana National Guard also shares a more than 25-year partnership with Slovakia through joint military trainings and security cooperation objectives.

Additionally, Indiana and Israel share a strong trade relationship, with Indiana being the 4th largest goods exporter to Israel in the Midwest and the 19th largest in the U.S. In 2021, Israel-based renewable energy developer Doral broke ground on one of the largest solar farms in the U.S., phase one of which is expected to bring 1.3 gigawatts of clean energy to Northern Indiana.

In Slovakia, Gov. Holcomb, Sec. Chambers, Adjutant General Lyles and the First Lady will meet with nongovernment and civil society organizations, to voice Indiana's support of Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees, in partnership with the Indiana National Guard. The delegation will meet with Slovak leadership in Bratislava, Slovakia's capital, to promote Indiana as a top destination for global innovation in economy of the future industries including sustainable energy and Industry 4.0.

On March 30 and March 31, the delegation will meet with Israeli leadership in Tel Aviv, Israel, to discuss agbioscience, electric vehicle (EV) mobility, innovation, and start-up/scale-up businesses, particularly in the green economy space, followed by meeting with prospective businesses to grow agtech accelerators and opportunities to encourage future economic cooperation.

Indiana is home to more than 1, 075 foreign-owned business establishments, representing more than 40 countries. In 2021, 47 foreign-owned businesses committed to locating or growing in Indiana. Together, these firms plan to invest $3.55 billion in Indiana, creating jobs with an average wage of $29.57 per hour and accounting for 14% of the total new jobs committed in 2021.

This marks Gov. Holcomb’s tenth international economic development trip, second trip to Slovakia and third trip to Israel as governor and is the second international trip with the IEDC for Sec. Chambers. The costs of the state delegations are being paid through private donations to the Indiana Economic Development Foundation.

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