Atlanta is an economic hotspot, home of 18 Fortune 500 firms such as The Home Depot and Coca-Cola. Needless to say that the EU Trade counselors had a tight schedule visiting the Southern metropolis from December 11-13, 2018.
The highlights of the trip included a business lunch at Metro Atlanta Chamber, a meet-up with Mercedes Benz USA CEO Dietmar Exler and a visit at the CNN Center. At CNN, the delegation met the people who literally make headlines every day. The journalists offered valuable insights into how breaking news is broadcast.
Another must-see was the headquarters of AGCO Corporation. Professor Martin H. Richenhagen, Chairman, President and CEO of the company, a global leader in the manufacture of agricultural equipment and known for renowned brands such as Massey Ferguson, welcomed the group.
The reason why the EU Trade counselors picked Atlanta as their destination is rather obvious: Not only is the city’s economy among the ten largest of the U.S., but Georgia has also been elected “Best State for doing Business” four times in a row. Throughout the trip, the delegation seized the chance to reach out to experts familiar with Atlanta’s economic landscape.
A particularly insightful discussion took place at Georgia Tech’s campus. There, Austrian Ambassador Wolfgang Waldner addressed participants and introduced an illustrious panel on growing exports and on attracting foreign direct investment.
Later, the delegation was welcomed by the Mayor of Atlanta’s Chief of Staff Marva Lewis.
Yet another highly anticipated appointment was a visit to the UPS headquarters. The multinational package delivery and supply chain management company was founded in 1907 and reported 66 billion dollars of revenue in 2017. Currently, it employs about 435,000 people.
Curiously enough, in spite of these multinational giants, Georgia’s economy is mainly characterized by the dominance of small- and medium-sized businesses: Half of the 600,000 companies registered in the state do not even have any employees! At present, about 45 Austrian companies have offices in Georgia, offering jobs to roughly 1,000 people.