LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced she will be leading a five-day investment mission to Norway and Switzerland next week, focusing on attracting job-creating business investments, particularly in Michigan’s next-generation of automotive manufacturing and clean energy independence ecosystem. This marks the first economic development visit to Europe under the governor’s administration; the first-ever governor-led mission to Norway in recent history; and the first Michigan governor trip to Switzerland since 2016.
“The world is increasingly interconnected and it’s important for leaders in other countries to hear that Michigan is a key player on the global stage, especially as we work to lead the future of mobility, bring supply chains home, and become energy independent with more clean, domestic supply,” Governor Whitmer said. “We are taking this opportunity to tell Michigan’s story around the world with leaders and decisionmakers in other countries. We’re building something in Michigan that everyone should want to be a part of, and I will go anywhere and compete with everyone to bring jobs and investment back home. Let’s show the world what we have to offer, build on our leadership in cars, chips, and clean energy, and prove that the best manufacturing in the world happens right here in Michigan.”
While in Norway, Governor Whitmer will meet with company and government leaders in Oslo to discuss investment opportunities and collaboration in global industries, including mobility and hydrogen. The governor will also make a stop in Zurich. Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO Quentin L. Messer Jr. and other MEDC officials will join Governor Whitmer in Norway.
“As the most abundant chemical element, hydrogen can play a significant role in accelerating Michigan’s clean-energy transition away from fossil fuels in the coming decades. There has been a federal focus on hydrogen and Michigan fully capitalizing on this transition has the potential to create good-paying jobs for our fellow friends and neighbors across both peninsulas,” said MEDC CEO Quentin L. Messer, Jr. “Throughout this trip, we’ll have the opportunity to meet with company leaders in the hydrogen space and have productive conversations on how we can strengthen our ties with them and attract more jobs to and create greater business opportunities in Michigan.”
In September 2022, Michigan announced it would be among seven Midwestern states teaming up to accelerate the development of hydrogen as a clean-energy alternative; the Midwestern Hydrogen Coalition partners Michigan with Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin to collaborate on clean hydrogen development.
The Midwest Hydrogen Coalition builds on Gov. Whitmer’s MI Healthy Climate Plan, which positions Michigan as a climate action leader and identifies what needs to happen for Michigan to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 with a prioritization on actions from now until 2030.
Norway, located in Northern Europe, is bordered by Sweden, Finland and Russia. It is home to some 5.4 million people. Switzerland, located in Central Europe, is bordered by Italy, France, Germany, and Austria, and has a population of approximately 8.7 million. Business leaders and economists estimate large potential growth opportunities for Michigan in Norway and Switzerland:
- Between 2018 and 2021, Michigan companies exported a total of $895 million in goods and materials to Switzerland and Norway, with transportation equipment as the top Michigan export to both countries.
- Overall, eight foreign direct investment projects were created in Michigan by Swiss and Norwegian companies between 2018 and 2022, resulting in a total of 161 jobs. Those projects generated a total capital investment of $39.8 million.
Following those business meetings, Governor Whitmer has been invited to attend the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, “Cooperation in a Fragmented World.” The governor was invited by the Forum leaders to speak on a panel, “The Return of Manufacturing,” joining executives from the mobility and semiconductor industries.
In a new report from CNBC, Michigan was named one of three states in the running alongside Georgia and Kentucky that are poised to “dominate” electric vehicle battery manufacturing in the United States by 2030. Michigan is leading the charge to position the U.S. as a global electric vehicle competitor through this increased manufacturing capacity. Last year, the state attracted thousands of jobs and $14 billion in electric vehicle and battery investments while developing programs to train and employ the next generation of talent in the electric vehicle and mobility sector.
“Michigan is competing with other states and other nations to land game changing manufacturing projects and thousands of jobs,” Governor Whitmer said. “Michiganders are tough, hardworking people. We will work with anyone and compete with everyone to make sure that Michigan is home to the future of mobility and electrification and fight to bring supply chains home. We are in contention to be a top state for the electric vehicle industry in the next decade, and we will not stop until we win.”
“The 21st Century is defined by the globalization of markets. For Michigan to be competitive in retaining and attracting businesses and jobs, we are going to have to work for it,” said Sandy Baruah, President and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “One of the key assets we have is a governor who is willing – and effective – in marketing Michigan on the national and international stage. As an entity focused on promoting economic development in Michigan, the Chamber sees tremendous value in the governor participating in the World Economic Forum.”
Transformational electric vehicle and battery investments in Michigan in 2022 include:
- In January 2022, General Motors announced a historic investment of $7 billion, creating 4,000 and retaining 1,000 jobs, to convert Orion Township assembly plant to build full-size electric vehicle pickups and build Ultium’s third U.S. battery cell plant in Lansing.
- In March 2022, LG Energy Solution announced a $1.7 billion expansion creating 1,200 jobs in Holland manufacturing batteries.
- In June 2022, Ford Motor Company announced an investment of $2 billion, creating more than 3,200 jobs in plants across Michigan to support electric vehicle manufacturing growth and secure internal combustion engine portfolio in the state.
- In June 2022, Canadian electric vehicle charging network operator FLO announced an investment of $3 million for the company’s first-ever U.S. manufacturing facility in Auburn Hills.
- In October 2022, Michigan-based Our Next Energy announced a $1.6 billion investment to establish its first cell and electric vehicle battery pack gigafactory in Van Buren Township, creating up to 2,112 jobs.
- In October 2022, Gotion announced a $2.36 billion investment for a new manufacturing facility in Big Rapids, creating up to 2,350 jobs.
The economic development mission is sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.