The State of Rheinland-Pfalz in Germany, which already has been a chosen manufacturing site by 60 U.S. companies including General Motors and IBM, is focused on developing business and cultural ties with the South under a special year 2000 initiative.

As part of the initiative, a delegation of its senior officials were in Atlanta last week promoting a multimedia park and other high-tech ventures while also stressing the investment and joint venture opportunities in more traditional automotive, chemical and pharmaceutical sectors.

The officials included Ernst Eggers, the permanent secretary at the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Transport, and Gregor M. Weiner, executive vice president of Rheinland-Pfalz’s economic development arm, who visited several Georgia high tech companies including iXL, the business-to-business intranet provider.

They also visited software and hardware manufacturers Becton/Schantz, Intelligent Systems, Scientific-Atlanta and Tekgraf and met with Randy Cardoza, the commissioner of the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism.

During an interview with GlobalFax, Mr. Eggers underlined the relationship that has been developing with Georgia and the Southeast through the 1990s. His last visit to Atlanta was in 1996 when the Atlanta-based German American Chamber of Commerce South (GACC) celebrated its independence from the New York-based German chamber.

“The membership of the German chamber has grown to more than 500, showing that the South has become an important center for German investment activity,” he said.

He added that on this visit the delegation was stressing the development of a multimedia Internet park being developed on a former U.S. Air Force base in Zweibr¸cken.

Under a cooperative agreement with the State of Rheinland-Pfalz, one of Germany’s leading multimedia companies, 1&1, is playing an instrumental role in the park’s development.

The park is providing more than just office space to foreign and domestic entrepreneurs, according to Mr. Eggers, by establishing contacts, providing marketing support and even assisting with financing.

The initiative is to continue into next year with an increased presence of Rheinland-Pfalz officials contacting local companies and participating at trade shows and in cultural events.

For more information, call Antje Abshoff of the GACC at (404) 239-9260, fax, (404) 264-1761 or send an E-mail to