Lt. gov. heading to Netherlands to strengthen Michigan ties

Posted on April 9, 2013

Next week, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley will lead a delegation on a six-day investment mission to the Netherlands.

Calley will be joined on the trip by House Speaker Jase Bolger and Sen. Majority Floor Leader Arlan Meekhof, as well as Jamie Clover Adams, director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

“Michigan’s longstanding ties with Dutch companies have resulted in good jobs here, and we look forward to further strengthening these highly productive relationships,” Calley said in a statement. “We will be delivering the message that Michigan is more business-friendly than ever and the best state in the North American market to compete and grow.”

The delegation will leave on Saturday and return April 19.

Bolger’s press secretary, Ari Adler, said it is unlikely any final votes will be taken on legislation while the speaker is gone next week. Other action will continue, such as committee meetings and moving bills along in the legislative process. How the Senate will proceed is unclear. A message seeking comment was not immediately returned.

The trip, which will include stops at The Hague, Amsterdam and Zeeland to meet with business and political leaders, was instituted by the West Michigan Global Initiative, with support from Michigan Economic Development Corp., The Right Place Inc., of Grand Rapids and the Detroit Regional Chamber, according to the statement.

Calley also is planning to host a meeting with automotive suppliers and to meet the heads of several financial institutions and advanced agricultural production and technology companies.

“The history of Michigan and the Netherlands as partners in culture and business has provided many ties between us, and this outreach effort will help strengthen those,” Bolger said in a statement. “These ties include my own family – my grandfather of Irish immigrants married my grandmother, who was from a Dutch immigrant family, in Grand Rapids. We have made significant reforms in the past two years that make Michigan an even more attractive state in which to provide jobs. The Dutch have often demonstrated that Michigan is the place to be, and I look forward to helping to ensure these ties and see more jobs grow from our recent improvements.”

According to the statement, last year, companies in Michigan exported $332.8 million in goods and materials to the Netherlands. That made the country Michigan’s 18th largest export market. Chief among those exports are chemicals, and computer and electronic products, as well as transportation equipment and machinery.

Chris Gautz, Crain’s Detroit Business.