When Gov. Brian Kemp visited Porsche’s new electric vehicle plant in Stuttgart, the sports car maker made a thoughtful choice for his tour guide.
The governor walked the production line of the brand new Taycan Turbo all-electric sports car with Detlev von Platen, an executive who led Porsche Cars North America’s Atlanta operation for seven years. He presided over a selection process that considered 73 sites but ultimately landed Porsche on a 53-acre complex with a test track near the Atlanta airport.
Mr. Von Platen, who was succeeded here as president and CEO by Klaus Zellmer in 2015, is now a member of the Porsche AG executive board for sales and marketing.
He showed off the Taycan, which launched in December with a six-figure starting price, at an opportune moment: Mr. Kemp was fresh off announcing a new foreign investment to supply a $1.7 billion vehicle battery factory in Jackson County. In a news release, he noted a desire to see a hub for future-facing vehicles continue growing in Georgia, already an automotive magnet.
Porsche is just one part of Georgia’s Germany investment story, which the state says includes 800 German-owned facilities (when taking into account retail outlets). As for manufacturers, hundreds have made Georgia home, contributing to the 36,000 jobs German firms support here.
Before heading over to Stuttgart in the western German state of Badem-Wurttemberg, Mr. Kemp’s made his first stop was in Munich, where he reciprocated a June 2019 Georgia visit by Florian Herrmann, Bavaria’s state minister for domestic, European affairs and media.
Aside from deep corporate connections, Georgia and Bavaria are partners in the Regional Leaders Alliance, a group of international states and provinces including Shandong, China; Sao Paulo, Brazil and others that meet annually to share best practices.
Mr. Kemp also opened Georgia’s new office at Max Weber Platz in Munich, where the state has five full-time staff promoting trade and investment, as well as two contractors working on tourism promotion. Frank Sportolari, president of UPS Germany and of AmCham Germany, attended Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting.
In a sign of the times, Mr. Herrmann’s tweets on the meeting included a note on tariffs — particularly how unnecessary they are when partners compete fairly.
The meeting came days after President Trump reiterated his threat to slap tariffs on European cars if he is not satisfied with upcoming trade negotiations.
Neujahrsempfang des American Chamber of Commerce Germany in München: Die wirtschaftlichen Beziehungen zwischen Bayern und USA sind nach wie vor hervorragend. Davon profitieren immer beide Seiten! Im fairen Wettbewerb sind Zölle und Handelsbeschränkungen falsch und überflüssig. pic.twitter.com/H9jZuahESP
— Florian Herrmann (@fwhfreising) January 23, 2020
First Lady Focuses on Human Trafficking
Friday morning in Stuttgart, First Lady Marty Kemp is slated to meet with Lana Packer, one of the founders of Kainos, a nonprofit launched there in 2014 to rehabilitate victims of sexual exploitation.
Mrs. Packer’s husband and co-founder, Pastor David Packer, leads the International Baptist Church in the city. Kainos offers counseling, job training, classes and relationship models for about 90 women per month.
Combating trafficking in Georgia and beyond has been a signature issue for the first lady, who earlier this week joined the governor and members of the Georgians for Refuge, Action, Compassion, and Education (GRACE) Commission to announce three new bills aimed at protecting survivors, closing loopholes in the sex offender registry and instituting a ban on commercial driver’s licenses for those convicted of trafficking.
More details on the bills are expected to be unveiled this week.
Follow Mr. Kemp’s trip on his Twitter and Facebook accounts: