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Guadagno unveils effort to court overseas business

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To attract more businesses abroad to trade, invest and locate in New Jersey, the Chris Christie administration today announced the launch of the Office of International Business Development and Protocol, part of New Jersey's Business Action Center.

"We spent a lot of time keeping what we have, making sure the other states wooing you away from New Jersey know we're going to fight for you to stay," acting Gov. Kim Guadagno said to employees and executives at Evonik Degussa Corp.'s new Parsippany office. "The next story is overseas. … We don't want to always beat New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania for jobs, because that's just moving the beans around the table. We want to create new jobs … and to do that, we created this office."

According to Eddy Mayen, director of the new department, the countries with the most investment in New Jersey are not the same countries to where local businesses export most, so one goal is to entice companies in countries the state already partners with — like Germany, France, Canada, Japan and Portugal — to locate in New Jersey and, thus, increase their trade and investment.

Mayen said he also will try to host officials from emerging markets where New Jersey does not have significant business ties — like Brazil and Mexico — to form new partnerships.

"We want to establish relationships … to make sure if a foreign country wants to do business in the United States, that they do it in New Jersey," Mayen said. "Foreign companies usually come over with their senior staff, but if they have the choice to employ locally, then that's of more interest to us. The point is, we want to have more jobs at 5 p.m. than we had at 9 a.m."

According to Choose New Jersey President and CEO Tracye McDaniel, representatives from two Tel Aviv-based businesses have already explored potential locations in the state, following the Christie administration's Israeli trade mission in April, but she would not disclose the names of the companies.

"This new office will only expand the efforts we're already making overseas," McDaniel said. "Choose New Jersey personally doesn't have connections in countries like Germany and France, but the state does, and we hope to build on those partnerships to get more businesses here."

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