GDEcD: 50 Years of International Presence

Wednesday, December 20th, 2023


The State of Georgia has become a center of international business, with Atlanta and Savannah serving as primary global gateways for people and products through air, sea, and rail. Beyond the business-friendly assets that make Georgia a successful state to do business, decades of strategic decisions by state leaders are delivering generational investments that continue to keep Georgia at the forefront of global trends and stretching into new markets – including maintaining direct lines of communication between them. 

Fifty years ago, state leadership under then-Governor Jimmy Carter began to establish Georgia’s physical presence abroad, kickstarting the state’s trajectory to becoming a global hub for business and innovation. 

“The fact that Georgia has had international representation for over 50 years has helped give our economy a remarkable resiliency,” said Coryn Marsik, Director of International Investment at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “These offices work to recruit diverse investments, which create jobs for Georgians, and help our companies reach new global markets.” 

Enduring Ties with Japan 
When first established in 1973, the State of Georgia’s office in Tokyo provided direct access to multiple rapidly developing markets in east Asia. Seeing this strategy bear fruit, Georgia further strengthened its investments into connectivity, expanding its international presence over the next few decades to include new offices dedicated to serving individual countries. 

As home to the first international office, Georgia’s history with Japan is a unique mix of deep business and cultural connections. Japanese companies continue to be the top international employer in Georgia to this day. These ties are supported by an active community of Japan-Georgia organizations, such as the Japan-America Society of Georgia and the Japan External Trade Organization, and Georgia’s role as a charter member in the Southeast U.S.-Japan Alliance.  

Learn more about how the State of Georgia celebrated 50 Years of the Japan Office, and hear from the managing director of the Japan Office, Joseph Huntemann, on how the office supports jobs and opportunity for Georgians: 

Europe Office Drives Success  
On the heels of opening Georgia’s Japan Office in 1973, the State of Georgia’s Europe Office was established. Throughout 50 years, the professionals helming this location serve the European market from Munich, Germany. Germany’s central location, role as one of Georgia’s top investor nations, and robust mobility industry anchors Georgia’s mission to attract innovative technologies to the state from Europe. 

In fact, it was a mission to Europe in 2020 that propelled bringing mobility of the future to the forefront of Georgia’s manufacturing recruitment plans. As Governor Brian Kemp and the State of Georgia delegation met with automotive companies headquartered in Germany, one topic came up repeatedly: electrification and other alternative fuels.  

The team came back with a new goal: identify opportunities at every step of the supply chain. Just three years later, the mobility and battery supply chain have announced more than $25.5 billion in investments and an estimated 30,700 new jobs over the next few years. GEDIA Automotive, Aurubis AG, and Heliox are just a few examples of European-based companies that are enhancing Georgia’s mobility ecosystem. 

The success of Georgia’s mobility and clean tech industries thrust the state to even higher platforms to share its story: the 2023 World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. Governor Kemp served on a panel with other American officials, sharing that “one thing you can count on is stability and a great economy, a great business environment in the State of Georgia.”  

“The European market is full of opportunity for the State of Georgia; whether it’s for attracting innovative companies, helping Georgia businesses connect with new customers, or establishing new ties that will continue to pay dividends in the future,” said Ellen Kraft, Managing Director of the Europe Office. “Georgia’s relationships with European partners continue to expand, as the new North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) office in Atlanta shows. It’s an exciting time to represent Georgia in Europe.” 

International businesses touch every corner of the state, becoming part of the fabric of their adoptive communities. They tap into university-backed research, innovative ecosystems, and solutions-oriented partnerships that are up-to-date on the latest business trends. By working together at the local, state, and industry levels to respond to business, Georgia is seizing new opportunities and developing solutions that improve lives here and around the world.  

Interested in Georgia’s secrets to success? Commissioner Pat Wilson explains how Georgia is reaping the seeds sown decades ago by visionary leaders: