Gov. Mike Beebe's week-long trade mission to France should result in expansions of existing French firms doing business in Arkansas and could result in research collaborations for food safety and agricultural productivity.
“There's an opportunity for significant agricultural research, cooperation and collaboration with France,” Beebe told reporters at a capitol news conference.
He said that agri-research being conducted at numerous Arkansas universities in the fields of nanotechnology and food safety were high priorities. Beebe noted that the National Center for Toxicological Research near Pine Bluff could also benefit from a French exchange.
The Governor said that he met with 5 French-based companies t
hat conduct business in Arkansas about possible expansions. Beebe said one of those companies is close to making a decision.
He described other talks as “preliminary,” adding that the French firms are interested in seeing their Arkansas-made products exported to China, other Asian countries, or South America.
Dassault Falcon Jet, Saint Gobain Industries, Saint Jean Industries, Pernod Ricard, and Zodiac Aerospace are all French-based firms with Arkansas operations.
Grant Tennille, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission who travelled with Beebe on the trip, said French governmental and business leaders were interested in holding a trade conference in Arkansas in the first quarter of 2013.