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Alabama official joins international conference to strengthen economic ties with Europe

Christina Stimpson, director of the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Office of International Trade, is in Greece and Belgium this week for the EU-US Emerging Leaders Visitors Programme, an international conference aimed at strengthening economic ties between the European Union and other countries. 

Stimpson will be focused on developing connections with EU leaders for the purpose of strengthening economic ties between Alabama and EU-member countries, with trade between the two having increased significantly in recent years.

“Being able to attend this exclusive event will provide Christina with new insights into international trade opportunities that can benefit Alabama businesses and drive economic growth here at home,” Ellen McNair, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said in a statement.

“The European Union is a critically important trade partner for our state, and we’re fully committed to advancing that relationship.”

Last year, EU-member countries and Alabama engaged in $15 billion worth of trade, $7.7 billion of which were Alabama exports, according to commerce. About 300 companies from EU-member countries operate businesses in Alabama.

On Monday, Stimpson participated in a series of briefings, meetings and networking opportunities, and was to do the same on Tuesday in Brussels. 

On Wednesday, Stimpson is scheduled to speak with government and economic leaders in Athens, Greece, and will attend briefings related to Greece’s investment opportunities and trade possibilities.

“I look forward to creating networks among the European participants and increasing my understanding of the opportunities that exist for Alabama and the European Union in both trade and investment,” Stimpson said in a statement. 

“This opportunity falls perfectly in line with the Export Alabama 2025 trade strategy, which is currently in development.”

Alabama exports to Greece have historically been aerospace products and industrial machinery. Trade between the two has also increased in recent years, with Alabama companies having exported goods valued at $12.5 million to the country last year, a 24% increase from the previous year, according to the department.

“We plan to execute trade missions to the United Kingdom and European Union member countries that align with our shared values and approach to trade, security, and economic prosperity,” Stimpson said.

Alabama exports overall have increased dramatically in recent years, totalling $27.4 billion in 2023, an increase of 6% when compared to the previous year. The Port of Mobile is also now the second-fastest growing port in the U.S., having made an economic impact in 2022 of $98 billion.

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