BATON ROUGE – This Friday, Gov. John Bel Edwards will lead Louisiana Economic Development officials and business and health sciences leaders from around the state on an economic growth and diversification mission to France and Belgium. While abroad, Governor Edwards will attend the Paris Air Show, the largest aerospace and aviation trade show in the world, and BIO Day, a gathering of Louisiana and Belgian bioscience business and research leaders. The Governor and delegation will explore future business development and expansion opportunities with prospective and current international partners and top executives of major global corporations, focusing on the energy, aerospace and life sciences sectors.
The delegation includes LED Secretary Don Pierson, leaders from LED’s Office of International Commerce, LED’s Office of Business Development, the LED FastStart workforce development team, and members of the governor’s staff. Among the state entities represented during the life sciences portion of the mission will be Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge Health District, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Tulane University, Tulane University Medical Center, University of Louisiana Monroe, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and the Center for Molecular Imaging and Therapy in Shreveport. The Baton Rouge Area Chamber and Shreveport Next also will be represented.
“Diversification is the key to prosperity and continued growth in our increasingly interconnected global economy,” Gov. Edwards said. “Louisiana’s economy is more diverse than at any time in our state’s history, but there is more work to be done. The global shift toward sustainability has created surging demand for low-carbon energy. NASA’s Artemis mission has launched a new era of space exploration. Technological advances have emboldened a new generation of life sciences innovators. The result of all these developments is the same: rapid transformation of emerging sectors in Louisiana, and a historic opportunity for economic growth.”
Among the governor’s scheduled engagements in France are meetings with global aerospace and aviation sector leaders Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Airbus and Lockheed Martin; and sustainable energy innovators Air Liquide and Total Energies, which recently announced a partnership to produce renewable, low-carbon hydrogen. While in France he also will attend the Paris Air Show, the largest aerospace and aviation trade show in the world. Gov. Edwards and LED will also co-host a reception sponsored by the Aerospace Alliance, which includes Florida, Alabama and Mississippi as well as Louisiana. The reception provides an opportunity to network with C-level executives from a wide range of aviation and aerospace companies.
The Belgium leg of the mission includes “BIO Day,” which will bring together an array of Louisiana and Belgian bioscience business and research leaders at Corda Campus, a business park in Hasselt, Belgium, that is recognized internationally as a major hub of biotech innovation.
“The governor’s active involvement in the economic development activities of our state is a crucial element when recruiting companies to locate and expand in Louisiana,” Sec. Pierson said. “It has allowed Louisiana to maintain its No. 1 position in per capita foreign direct investment for every year of Gov. Edwards’ administration. European companies have been an important contributor, accounting for more than half of the 13 major foreign investments announced in Louisiana in 2022, which represented more than $1.8 billion of capital investment and 1,200 new jobs. And Belgium’s emergence as a global leader in bioscience research and development creates an opportunity for new alliances leading to future investments in that increasingly robust sector.”
In addition to his activities in support of current and prospective Louisiana investors, Gov. Edwards is also scheduled to meet with French Senator Damien Regnard, U.S. Representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Jack Markell, and U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Michael Adler.
This is the governor’s fourth trade mission since the beginning of 2022, following nearly two years of pandemic-related travel restrictions. His previous trips to the Netherlands, France, England and Asia supported new capital investment in Louisiana’s energy, manufacturing and water management sectors and the establishment of the Louisiana International Terminal at the Port of New Orleans.
The governor will complete his scheduled activities on Friday, June 23, and return to Louisiana on June 24.