Detroit Regional Chamber and Torino Chamber Sign Pact to Drive Economic Development

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DETROIT— The Detroit Regional Chamber and the Torino (Italy) Chamber of Commerce signed a Memorandum of Understanding to coordinate economic development activities that will help Michigan companies gain greater access to the European market while strengthening economic partnerships between the two regions.

“Detroit and Torino are automotive powerhouses that can open up tremendous economic opportunities for each other by working together,” said Maureen Krauss, vice president of Economic Development, Business Attraction with the Detroit Regional Chamber. “Coordinated, cohesive economic development strategies are crucial to competing in the global economy. We’re thrilled to be working with our colleagues in Torino in a way that will greatly benefit both regions.”

Torino Chamber of Commerce President Alessandro Barberis visited the Detroit Regional Chamber Tuesday to sign the memorandum, with Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah. In March, Barberis welcomed a Michigan delegation – including Krauss, as part of Gov. Rick Snyder’s European trade mission – connecting them with Italian companies looking to set up operations and invest in the United States.

As part of the agreement, the two chambers will work to increase trade and business opportunities for their respective members by exchanging market information, arranging site visits, collaborating on trade fairs and other events, and acting as mutual “help desks” to strengthen ties between companies in the two regions. Michigan exports to Italy totaled $394 million in 2011, just 6 percent of the state’s exports to Europe last year, with transportation equipment accounting for half that total, according to the governor’s office. The Detroit Regional Chamber has had a joint cooperation agreement with the Torino Chamber for over 30 years, and continue to work together on pressing issues for the similar regions.

“Detroit’s position as the global automotive headquarters and the strength of the Detroit brand continue to grow,” Krauss said. “Our manufacturing, innovation and R&D assets are second to none — and that’s recognized across the globe. The Detroit Regional Chamber continues to leverage those assets to connect its members with business opportunities in Detroit, Torino and markets around the world.”

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