Director of Investment Attraction and Government Relations Michael Burton

CK Development Planting Seeds In China & Europe

Chatham-Kent’s economic development department is shifting its focus from China to Europe.

Michael Burton, director of investment attraction and government relations, says government capital investment restrictions in China are putting a heavy machinery company and an auto company, that want to relocate to Chatham-Kent, on hold for now.

Burton says the focus now is on attracting auto parts and food processing business from Europe.  He says local delegates visited Germany in October and established some business contacts that he hopes will work out.

“While we were over there we established contact with a number of companies in the European Union that have expressed an interest in establishing operations in North America,” says Burton.

Burton says local delegates pitched the benefits of moving to Chatham-Kent during a visit to Germany.

“While we were over there, for about ten days we visited with 48 different companies and I’d say about 20% of them have plans to invest in North America. So, we were introducing Chatham-Kent to those companies,” Burton says.

Burton says there will be follow-up meetings by March, both in Chatham and in Europe, to try and land European companies.

“There’s a free trade agreement now with the European Union, which is to our benefit and that’s part of why these companies are looking a little closer at expansion over here,” says Burton.

Burton says the two Chinese companies were to move to Chatham-Kent earlier this year and he hopes restrictions will be lifted next year to allow the relocation to take place.