Gov. Rick Snyder to lead auto-focused trade mission to Italy

LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder is heading to Italy and Germany next month for a trade mission focused on attracting auto and manufacturing investments.

The Republican governor hopes to “strengthen relationships and attract job-creating business investments in Michigan” on his trip during the first week in April, said spokeswoman Sara Wurfel.

Snyder made a similar trek in March 2012, when he met with automaker Fiat and other manufacturers in Italy as well as German automotive and alternative energy firms.

He’ll join officials from the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and The Right Place of Grand Rapids on the trip.

Michigan exported more than $2.2 billion worth of merchandise to Germany and Italy last year. Transportation equipment accounted for a third of the export value, according to federal trade statistics.

It’s Snyder’s seventh international trade mission as governor. He’s led three trips to Asia,most recently in September, along with missions to Israel, Canada, Italy and Germany. Lt. Gov. Brian Calley made trips to the NetherlandsBrazil and Mexico in 2013.

Snyder’s trip is funded by the Michigan Economic Growth Foundation and the MEDC’s corporate funds. The foundation receives voluntary contributions, while MEDC corporate funds come from several streams, mostly from a tax on American Indian casino revenues.

Further details on the trip were not available on Monday.