We had the pleasure of interviewing Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, and hear his view on the impact of Arkansas-France economic links for his Community.
- What is your view of the Arkansas-France economic relationship?
We greatly value the relationship between France and Arkansas in terms of trade and investment. There are about twenty French companies in Arkansas employing over 6,000 Arkansans, which makes France the third largest foreign investor our state.
I would also like to highlight the long history in our economic relationship. French companies came decades ago establishing small scale operations, and then growing bigger, such as Dassault Falcon Jet which came in the 1970s, or L’Oréal, which expanded by taking advantage of the strength of our workforce.
- What is the impact of French investment to your community?
French companies bring to our community a number of values, such as respect for their employees, with good pay scale and benefits, and quality of life, such as Dassault supporting local arts. French firms also have a tremendous effect on our state’s economy and employment through the many local subcontractors that work with them and bring value to their supply chain.
Additionally, French firms have had a leading role in the development of alternative energy sources. Companies such as L’Oréal set a good example to our state in terms of commitments to solar energy, and it has now become both a shared value and an economic asset for Arkansas.
- What do you think could reinforce economic ties between France and Arkansas?
I myself frequently lead trade mission trips to France to look at avenues for further economic ties. A natural growth area for future developments is aerospace, which is both a strong part of France’s economy and a key sector for Arkansas.
More generally, we would welcome any French company willing to manufacture their products and have access to the US market, taking advantage of the quality of our infrastructure. This includes our recent developments in solar energy, building on our great natural position that makes Arkansas a more favorable environment than Florida in this domain.