BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Louisiana governor is making a new push to draw international business. Touting the Bayou State's natural resources and location along the Mississippi River, Governor John Bel Edwards signed a so-called "open investment policy" statement Friday, pledging fair treatment in how the state awards contracts.
"We have a lot of reasons why companies ought to be in Louisiana. We want to make them as comfortable as possible," said Edwards.
Edwards is the first Louisiana governor to sign such a statement. He is the seventh governor nationwide this year, according to a spokesman for the Organization for International Investment (OFII).
The governor's office says about 500 foreign-owned companies are currently operating across Louisiana, generating more than 74,000 jobs. According to the OFII, over the past decade, Louisiana has ranked number one nationwide in foreign direct investment per capita.
One of the more recent investments was at the Shell plant in Geismar. A more than $700 million expansion is currently about two-thirds of the way completed.
While in many ways, the state is more of a PR move than actual policy shift, the governor says he's hopeful it will spur more interest in Louisiana. "International trade publication will announce this statement, so Louisiana will receive a little bit of boost in the consciousness of companies around the world when they're looking to make strategic investments," he said. "They may give us a look whereas otherwise they wouldn't."
Vice president of OFII, Jonathan Samford, meanwhile praised the governor, saying foreign businesses are "looking for this form of leadership."