More than 40 business, university and economic development leaders from France are in Pittsburgh this week to rendezvous with their Pennsylvania counterparts.
The high-level delegation is led by Jean-Jack Queyranne, the president of the Rhone-Alpes region in France. That’s equivalent to an American governor. The trip is a follow up to Gov. Tom Corbett’s business development mission to France in March 2012.
Queyranne said his region and Pennsylvania have a special relationship.
“Rhone-Alpes is the only French region to have a partnership with an American state," he said. "It is based on education, research, business, innovation, culture.”
During the four-day tete-a’-tete, Queyranne said they will sign four memoranda of understanding between universities and research centers. He said his region and the Pittsburgh area have common interests.
“Very similar, our agents in Pennsylvania are doing well," Queyranne said. "We came here (Pittsburgh) to deal with technology, with energy, with development and software.”
He said Rhone-Alpes’ economy, which focuses on high tech industries, nanotechnology, precision machining and education, is diversified like Pittsburgh’s.
In 2010, Pennsylvania companies exported more than $767 million of goods and services to France. Currently, 438 French-based firms employ more than 18,500 people in the commonwealth.
Rhone-Alpes is located in southeastern France. It's largest city is Lyon, and the area is home to Grenoble, host of the 1968 Winter Olympics, and Albertville, which hosted the 1992 Winter Games.