Q: What is the biggest hurdle when it comes to attracting investment to Delaware?
A: Delaware is a small state. Companies, particularly foreign ones, know New York and California, but not some of the smaller states. What we need to do is to start with the basics, and we usually start our pitch with showing where we are located. And we happen to be in a great location, right in between New York and Washington, DC; everybody knows New York and Washington, and many foreign companies want to visit both places during one flight to the US.
Q: After you establish that, what are the other elements of your pitch?
A: Then we look at issues from the perspective of companies and what they care about. First of all, they care about having access to an educated workforce. In Delaware we can talk not only about our workforce but the fact that we have, within an easy commute, people graduating from universities in Philadelphia, Baltimore and New Jersey.
Next, investors want to know about regulatory issues and whether it is not going to take too much time to get a permit, licences or whatever it is they might need to start their business. They care about having good access to government leaders and strong links with institutions of higher education, and of course they care about the cost of doing business. We work through each of these issues, so they understand the things that are the most important for them when they decide where to invest next and where to hire next.
Q: How much do you engage yourself in promoting Delaware's trade and FDI?
A: My job as a governor is to help as many Delaware companies as possible participate in economies that are growing faster than our own. In the past year, I have been in India, [South] Korea, Japan and Israel. Earlier in my term I went to Europe, because Fraunhofer, a German based-research institution, has its biggest non-German installation [the Center for Molecular Biotechnology] located in Delaware. I also went to Chile, because the port of Wilmington is the biggest port in the US to which fruit is imported from South America.
Q: Given their big domestic markets and potential for rapid economic growth, trade missions from developed markets have high hopes for Brazil, Russia, India and China [the BRICs]. Do you see the BRICs as important markets for Delaware?
A: There is a big focus on China, India and Brazil, and we have been to all of those places, but we also had our team over in South Africa. That is what I like so much about the state trade export promotion programme: our businesses can find customers all over the world.