“We provide companies and investors with information and specific support from a single source that will allow for the building of new bridges between London and Hessen,” explained Minister of Economic Affairs Tarek Al-Wazir and Chief Mayor of Frankfurt Peter Feldmann on Thursday at Frankfurt’s Römer building. “In addition, FrankfurtRhineMain and Hessen plan to assemble combined delegations and host shared exhibition booths this year with the goal of jointly promoting FrankfurtRhineMain and Hessen as an outstanding location within the EU.” The activities will be coordinated by the FrankfurtRheinMain GmbH International Marketing of the Region economic development association (FRM), which the state of Hessen rejoined a year ago, as well as the Hessen Trade and Invest GmbH economic development association (HTAI). “Our joint efforts have been very successful thus far and it goes without saying that anything that benefits the state of Hessen also benefits the city of Frankfurt and the Rhine-Main region and vice-versa. Hence, we encourage other municipalities to become shareholders of FRM GmbH and capitalize on the numerous opportunities offered by conducting a joint international marketing campaign for the local region.”
Website and point of contact for British companies
Just one day after the Brexit referendum, the FrankfurtRhineMain region launched a website targeting companies in the UK (https://welcometofrm.com). Shortly thereafter a point of contact was established in London for these companies. “Our website provides all companies considering a relocation to Frankfurt with targeted support on matters such as: How do I find a suitable office or apartment? What does the abbreviation 3ZKB mean? What are the most popular locations in the region? What international schools are available?” explained Feldmann, who is also chairman of FRM GmbH’s supervisory board.
Multi-faceted economic relations with the UK
Hessen’s economic development agency is currently in the process of surveying 5,000 Hessen-based companies that maintain business relations with the UK. The results of the study are scheduled to be published in March. “We want to know how Hessen-based companies view the upcoming implementation of Brexit and how we can support these companies in coping with the changes arising from the UK’s departure from the EU,” commented Minister of Economic Affairs Al-Wazir. The United Kingdom receives the second highest volume of foreign direct investments made by Hessen based companies (after the United States). In addition, several hundred British companies maintain permanent establishments in Hessen. The UK is Hessen’s third most significant trading partner and is thus both a key sales and source market for Hessen’s real economy.
Delegation visits: Promoting the Rhine-Main region as a business location
Minister of Economic Affairs Al-Wazir and his delegation wasted no time and visited London in August in order to contact decision-makers at banks and insurance companies in a targeted manner. “The state of Hessen and the FrankfurtRhineMain region distributed a joint business card there,” remarked Al Wazir. During the Chief Mayor of Frankfurt’s visit to London in late summer, FRM GmbH and HTAI jointly promoted the qualities of Frankfurt and the region as a financial center. “We have been and will continue to speak to London with one unified voice,” emphasized Feldmann.
Market cultivation in close cooperation
The state of Hessen rejoined the group of shareholders of FRM GmbH one year ago. In addition to the mutual forwarding of location-specific requests by companies, over 20 projects were carried out in the past year that involved effective cooperation. This close cooperation includes investor seminars and advertising in China and India, development of a joint Hessen-wide investor database, participation in international trade fairs, and joint acquisition of usage rights for market analyses.
“The times in which separate institutions from Hessen cultivated the same markets independently of each other are over for good. We now approach challenges as strong partners who are united,” explained Dr. Rainer Waldschmidt, CEO of the Hessen based economic development association HTAI, praising the improved cooperation. “Joint delegations traveled to Japan, South Korea, and the UK in the past year, which we intend to continue and expand upon this year.” Together with the Hessen China network, HTAI and FRM will organize joint roadshows in Guangdong and Shenzhen in June aimed at acquiring Chinese investors. In addition to engaging in renewed talks with banks and investors in London, Minister Al-Wazir plans to send an economic delegation to Singapore and Hong Kong. “A large number of Asian companies are also seeking a safe haven in the EU following the Brexit referendum. We’d like to make them an attractive offer,” said Waldschmidt. In two weeks, HTAI, FRM GmbH, and Hessen-based companies will be presenting together at the IMTEX exhibition in Bangalore, India, the most important machine tool exhibition in the South Asia and East Asia region.
Attractive alternative for a permanent establishment located within the EU
“None of us wanted Brexit to happen. Since the referendum succeeded, however, we are currently working together to position FrankfurtRhineMain as the best alternative for companies that will now require a new permanent establishment within the EU following the UK’s departure. All in all, it can be said that region, city, and state have likely never worked so closely together than they have in the wake of the UK’s decision to leave the EU,” explained Eric Menges, President & CEO of FrankfurtRheinMain GmbH. The current focus involves the coordination of all key activities. “We hold a conference call every Monday evening and discuss issues such as: Who spoke with which investors over the past week? Where might we still be experiencing difficulties? In what areas could we better assist each other? We ensure that all of these issues are addressed and that potential investors receive outstanding support.”