Office to support trade between Germany, Tennessee

From left, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany Christoph Sander, and President and CEO of GACC South Martina Stellmaszek celebrate the opening of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S. in Chattanooga, Tenn., in late November. (Photo/ GACC South)

From left, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany Christoph Sander, and President and CEO of GACC South Martina Stellmaszek celebrate the opening of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S. in Chattanooga, Tenn., in late November. (Photo/ GACC South)

Global investment in Tennessee
Foreign investment in Tennessee companies topped $23 billion in 2012. Here are the top countries investing in the state.

Country Amount
Japan $14.7 billion
Germany $3.1 billion
Canada $1.7 billion
Britain $1.2 billion

Source: Foreign Direct Investment in Tennessee, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Research and Planning Division

Staff Report
Published Dec. 11, 2013

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern United States Inc. has opened a Tennessee chapter and appointed a director to facilitate bilateral trade between Germany and Tennessee, the organization said in a news release.

“On a recent trip to Munich, I was able to witness firsthand that the Chattanooga region is on the radar screen of German industry and investment,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who attended a dedication of the office last month. “With the changing dynamics of American energy prices and the ongoing effort towards a trade agreement between the U.S and Europe, I believe the potential for many other opportunities is there, and I welcome GACC South to Chattanooga.”

The GACC South serves as the official representative of German industry and trade in the Southern U.S. and is part of an international network of 120 German foreign chambers of commerce and government offices in 80 countries, the chamber said.

The nonprofit organization is headquartered in Atlanta with a branch office in Houston. The chamber, which facilitates commerce among 11 Southern states and two U.S. territories, also has chapters in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and two in Texas.

Corker was mayor of Chattanooga when state and local officials developed the 1,200-acre industrial park that became Volkswagen North American’s manufacturing headquarters. Martina Stellmaszek, president and CEO of GACC South, said Tennessee’s position allows it also to attract business for surrounding states.

“We are very excited about opening the new chapter in Chattanooga,” Stellmaszek said in a news release. “Chattanooga has become a vibrant hub for German investment highlighted by the location of Volkswagen and Wacker, both of which have attracted numerous suppliers to East Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Northeast Alabama.”

Stellmaszek said German companies invested more than $3.13 billion in Tennessee, which has led to thousands of new jobs in the state. She said Andreas Havermann, plant manager of Barku Plastics LLC, has been appointed director of the chapter.

“Aside from attracting new members to the organization, our primary goals will be to grow strong and lasting relationships with area companies, and to put together educational networking events which will be beneficial for the entire business community,” Havermann said in a statement.

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