Gov. Norm Bangerter said that if Utah businesses want to enter emerging Eastern European markets, they must be prepared to make long-term commitments.
Bangerter, who is nearing the end of a trade mission to Europe and Asia, said Eastern European businesses are begging for help and says Utah businesses may be able to assist."I think there are a lot of opportunities over there, but it isn't for every business. You have got to be committed to the long haul and upfront investment, because they don't have any money."
Businesses who are considering expansion in both Western and Eastern Europe need to consider what effect such an expansion would have on their Utah operations. He said there is also a responsibility by state economic development officials to help make sure businesses can profit overseas.
"If I were talking to a Utah business, I would tell them look at the opportunities very carefully and make an assessment and compare it with what you can do in the United States," he said.
He said his trip, which started near the end of August, helped reinforce a view that the European Community is seeking trade with the United States. The state, in order to have a presence in a united European Community market in 1992, opened up a trade office in Brussels, Belgium, during the governor's stay there.
"Western Europeans want to cultivate a stronger trade association with the United States. The thing we have to be careful of is that they aren't doing that because Americans are easy to do business with," he said.
Stan Parrish, Bangerter's economic development director, said the trade mission's purpose has been threefold - fact-finding, fostering business exchange and meeting with businesses that could expand operations in Utah.
For example, Bangerter met with Phillips Co., which owns the Orem Signetics firm, while in Europe. While in Japan and Korea for the rest of this week, Bangerter was scheduled to meet with a Japanese software firm that is expected to announce a joint venture with a Bountiful firm on Oct. 2. He was also scheduled to meet with a representative of the Japanese government's ministry that oversees industry and technology.
In Korea on Thursday, Bangerter is scheduled to sign a cooperation agreement with the Korea-U.S. Economic Council.
Tuesday, Bangerter opened a conference of Japanese and Utah businesswomen. The conference is expected to result in a similar meeting in Utah in the future as well as contacts between the Gifu prefectural government and Utah.
"I feel like I have accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," said Bangerter.
Parrish said that the trip has "planted seeds" that can help foreign investment and Utah export abroad. He said he believes that tourism programs will be strengthened.
In the three-person Brussels office, there will be one assigned to help Utah break into the growing France tourism market. While in Japan, Bangerter helped announce a "Japan-America Week" planned for next May in Utah. Bangerter also attended a golf tournament and meetings of All Nippon Airways in Sapporo, Parrish said.