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Calley leads delegation to strengthen Michigan's business ties to Netherlands

Monday, April 8, 2013

LANSING, Mich. - Lt. Gov. Brian Calley will lead a delegation of state and local officials, business leaders and economic developers on a six-day investment mission to the Netherlands, leaving April 13 and returning April 19.

"Michigan's long-standing ties with Dutch companies have resulted in good jobs here and we look forward to further strengthening these highly productive relationships," Calley said. "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."

Calley and the delegation will travel to The Hague, Amsterdam and Zeeland to meet with key government officials and business executives. While in the country, he will meet with executives of financial institutions, advanced agricultural production and technology companies and host a meeting with its automotive suppliers. He also will participate in the Holland America Friendship Foundation's annual Night of the Stars Gala in The Hague to demonstrate Michigan's desire to strengthen ties with the Netherlands. Calley will also meet with Dutch companies that have industrial, financial and agriculture facilities around the state. 

Joining Calley on the mission are Speaker of the House Jase Bolger, state Sen. Arlan Meekhof and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Jamie Clover Adams.

"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. "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."

The investment mission to the Netherlands was instituted by the West Michigan Global Initiative with assistance of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., The Right Place Inc., of Grand Rapids and Detroit Regional Chamber.

The Netherlands, located in Europe and bordered by Germany, Belgium and the North Sea, is home to some 16,750,000 people. Business leaders and economists estimate large potential growth opportunities for Michigan in the Netherlands:

  • In 2012, Michigan companies exported $332.8 million in goods and materials to the Netherlands, making it Michigan's 18th largest export market.

  • Key Michigan exports to the Netherlands include chemicals, computer and electronic products, transportation equipment and machinery (excluding electrical).

  • The Netherlands is the seventh-largest source country for foreign direct investment in Michigan in terms of projects, with a total of 12 projects and $30 million in capital investment over the last 10 years.

The West Michigan Global Initiative facilitates the establishment of significant and long-term business, civic and cultural relationships between the West Michigan region and the Netherlands, building on the long-standing historic cultural ties between the two communities.

The WMGI also serves as the coordinating body of the Legislative Dutch Caucus, a bipartisan political association of members of the Michigan Legislature established to foster cultural, political and business ties between Michigan and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. To learn more about the WMGI, visit

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