Gov. Sonny Perdue and Georgia trade commissioner Glenn Cornell are to visit companies in Britain and Germany this week, including DaimlerChrysler AG and other auto manufacturers, to encourage new and expanded business to Georgia.

          The trip is the first official international economic development mission for Mr. Perdue.  Mr. Cornell visited Germany immediately following his appointment as commissioner in mid-January.

          During this visit, the two are to meet with DaimlerChrysler executives in Germany to discuss plans for construction of a Sprinter van plant in Pooler, which Georgia trade officials have said is to begin next month.

          DaimlerChrysler’s board of directors will make a final decision, July 9, on whether or not to move forward with the project, said Rick Winger, president of the Savannah Economic Development Authority.  The state is continuing to ready the proposed mega-site near Savannah in expectation of a “yes” vote. 

          Meetings with Audi AG, BMW Group, Kraiburg Group, a rubber and plastics manufacturer, Porsche Cars AG and Siemens AG are also scheduled in Munich and Stuttgart, Germany, according to Erin O’Brien, spokesperson for the governor.

          Several of the companies maintain a subsidiary headquarters in Georgia, including Atlanta-based Porsche Cars North America LLC and Siemens Energy and Automation Inc., a provider of engineering and automation solutions, which is based in Alpharetta.

BMW Manufacturing Corp., part of BMW Group, recently announced a $400 million expansion to its 2.4 million square foot manufacturing plant in Greer, S.C., which is likely to benefit Georgia-based auto parts suppliers. 

          In Britain, the Georgia delegation is to meet with executives of Henlys Group PLC, a bus and coach manufacturer, and International Greetings PLC, a designer and manufacturer of wrapping paper, gift accessories and cards. 

Henlys Group owns Blue Bird Corp., an American subsidiary headquartered in Fort Valley, Georgia; International Greetings operates a U.S. subsidiary, The Gift Wrap Co., based in Midway, Georgia.

          The delegation will also visit with representatives of the Confederation of British Industry following an invitation by confederation director, Digby Jones, who met with the governor last month during a trip to Atlanta.  The organization represents the business and trade interests of approximately 250,000 British firms. 

          Mr. Jones told GlobalFax in an interview during his stopover here that he hoped U.S. consumers would “buy British” in recognition of Britain’s support during the war in Iraq.

          For additional information, contact the governor’s press office at (404) 651-7774.