Rio Grande Valley agency opens German office

HARLINGEN — The Rio Grande Valley is open for business — in Berlin.

For the first time, a regional economic development agency has established a foothold in the European Union to seek leads for potential manufacturing plants in the Valley.

The new Germany office was announced this week by Matt Z. Ruszczak, chief executive officer of the Rio South Texas Economic Council based in Weslaco.

“This is the first time an economic development organization from the Rio Grande Valley establishes a permanent presence in Europe, and RSTEC is excited to support its valued members in taking their economic development efforts across the globe,” he said. “The office is located on Kurfuerstendamm, one of the most prominent commercial locations in all of Europe, essentially the German equivalent of 5th Avenue in New York City, and it was established through RSTEC’s relationship with the Transatlantic Business and Investment Council, the premier origination connecting European companies with American communities.”

Ruszczak is departing on a recruiting mission to Europe this week which includes visits to Denmark and Germany as well as a participation in the Hannover Messe, the world’s largest trade show focused on advanced manufacturing and industrial technology, featuring more than 5,000 exhibitors and attracting more than 200,000 attendees.

Also this week, RSTEC announced the Valley region was among the first six in the United States to receive the European Foreign Direct Investment Qualified Community Certification from the Transatlantic Business and Investment Council.

The certification is not just a marketing tool, said Matthias Beier, CEO of the business and investment council.

“Being one of the first ‘FDI-Qualified Communities’ within the TBIC Certification Program will help Rio South Texas to showcase its readiness to become the U.S. home of a European company and to make them feel welcome in a place where they can grow and thrive,” he said.

The Rio South Texas Economic Council is a membership-based regional economic development marketing organization focused on attracting foreign investment to the region.