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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Travels to Munich, Germany

Friday, November 22, 2013

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker traveled to Munich, Germany today, where she met with business leaders and promoted SelectUSA, an initiative to attract more foreign investment in the United States.

To start the day, Secretary Pritzker co-hosted a coffee reception with U.S. Consul General Bill Moeller to have a dialogue with German investors. She gave remarks on investing in the United States and the importance of the U.S.-German relationship.

Afterwards, Secretary Pritzker toured the training facilities at BMW's headquarters. At BMW, Secretary Pritzker learned from BMW CEO Dr. Norbert Reithofer and Head of Apprentice Training Jan Eggert about how the company implements the German Dual System of Vocational training, through which students receive a technical degree while participating in on-the-job training. BMW has a unique apprenticeship program, which is currently training 4,500 apprentices worldwide, including at their Spartanburg, South Carolina plant, where 70 apprentices are training for BMW careers.

Secretary Pritzker then visited Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, otherwise known as the Fraunhofer Insitute, which carries out results-oriented research with applications for industry and benefits to the rest of society. With a workforce of over 22,000 scientists and engineers, the institute is Europe’s biggest organization for applied research. The organization’s research focuses on the needs of people in the areas of healthcare, security, communication, mobility, energy and the environment.

At her final stop of the day, Secretary Pritzker visited iwis Motorsystems, a family-owned company that is making investments and creating jobs in the United States. Foreign direct investment is a major pillar of Secretary Pritzker’s new “Open for Business Agenda,”and iwis, a leading supplier of automotive products used in a variety of engines and vehicles, has several facilities in the United States. Operations have recently begun at the company’s newest facility in Murray, Kentucky, which accounts for a $12.5 million investment and will employ 75 people when fully operational.

Secretary Pritzker’s visit underscores the Department of Commerce’s commitment to promoting the economic relationship between the United States and Germany, attracting investment to the United States, and ensuring that the American workforce has the skills needed for 21st century jobs.