Guest Blog Post by Brian McGowan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development .
I’m excited to report that it was a very productive and successful five days for the 21 organizations that joined the U.S. Department of Commerce last week for an exciting exporting opportunity. The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA)/International Trade Administration (ITA) Trade & Investment Program  to Hannover Messe 2011  ended on Friday with promising leads for U.S. economic development organizations (EDOs) pursuing potential foreign investors and trading partners.
The program is the product of a unique partnership formed by EDA and ITA and its U.S. Commercial Service  (USCS) and Invest In America  (IIA) programs. This type of interagency collaboration is very important as we work together to increase the global competitiveness of America’s regions. The mission aimed to promote the Obama Administration's National Export Initiative (NEI) and attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the United States.
In total, our participating EDO’s held more than 400 meetings with potential foreign investors. These connections are the first step in building relationships that can support regional growth and help create new jobs here at home.
We received positive feedback from our participants for helping to facilitate these meetings, and many were particularly pleased with the productive discussions that resulted from a Foreign Direct Investment Roundtable we organized between U.S. and foreign EDOs.
We were also lucky enough to have U.S. Ambassador to Germany Phillip Murphy participate in the Trade & Investment Program. Ambassador Murphy helped to open  the Invest in America Pavilion on Monday, which provided a space for our participants to showcase their communities.
The Hannover program was the second joint mission of the EDA/ITA partnership. In November and December of 2010, we led U.S. community and business delegates on the Clean Technology Trade & Investment Mission to Pollutec, a trade show held in Lyon, France, that featured the world's leading international exhibit for the environment and sustainable development markets. The group also traveled to Brussels, Belgium, to explore overseas opportunities focused on advancing the green economy.
The EDA/ITA partnership holds strong promise for the future as we work to leverage the support of the U.S. Government for America’s communities, regions and businesses. By supporting President Obama’s pledge to double U.S. exports by 2015 and by attracting foreign direct investment to the United States, we will keep America competitive in the 21st century economy.