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Hungary Holcomb

Gov. Eric Holcomb is delighted to find cupcakes decorated similar to Indiana's state flag during a 2017 business networking event in Hungary. The Republican is leaving Wednesday on his third European trade mission as Indiana's chief executive, with France, Belgium and Germany on this year's itinerary.

INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb left Wednesday on his seventh international trade mission, seeking to renew and establish relationships between Indiana and business leaders in France, Belgium and Germany.

The Republican governor, Indiana Commerce Secretary Jim Schellinger and officials from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC) are due to spend a week in Europe and return to the Hoosier State on March 14.

The delegation's first stop is Paris where the governor will pitch Indiana at a CEO roundtable event co-hosted by the largest employer federation in France.

Indiana already is home to 48 France-based businesses, employing 28,500 Hoosiers. France also is the state's largest European export destination, with $1.5 billion of Indiana-made goods sold there in 2017, according to the IEDC.

"There's no substitute for meeting with our partners and prospective investors in person," Holcomb said.

"Indiana has a growing global reputation, built on the momentum that continues to bring back more jobs for Hoosiers and opens new markets for Hoosier-made goods."

While in France, Holcomb also plans to visit the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial to honor Hoosiers and all American service members who died in the June 6, 1944, D-Day landings and the subsequent fight to liberate Europe during World War II.

In Belgium, the Hoosier delegation will meet with U.S. Ambassador Ronald Gidwitz to discuss ways of strengthening economic ties between Indiana and Belgium.

Holcomb also will promote Indiana as a business destination during an event at the American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium.

In addition, the governor is slated to meet in Brussels with leaders of the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), including U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchinson.

Finally, Holcomb will travel to Frankfurt and Stuttgart, Germany, to host a "Friends of Indiana" reception for leaders of some the 120 German businesses operating in Indiana.

The governor additionally is set to visit Ramstein Air Base to greet U.S. military members from Indiana who are stationed in Germany.

"We'll use our time in Europe to strengthen relationships with some of our most important international economic partners, while continuing to promote Indiana as the best state in the U.S. to do business," Holcomb said.

This is Holcomb's third European trade mission since taking office in 2017. He's also promoted Indiana on trips to Japan, India, Israel and Canada.

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Statehouse Bureau Chief

Dan is Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Times. Since 2009, he's reported on Indiana government and politics — and how both impact the Region — from the state capital in Indianapolis. He originally is from Orland Park, Ill.