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Editorial: West Virginia keeping up with international relations

From The Weirton Daily Times:

Economic development often is more of a marathon than a sprint. Projects many of us may feel should be simple, usually can take years of negotiations before an announcement can be made, let alone before any construction or hiring can take place.

Those involved in the process also have a large field of competition, facing off against, not only those from within their own geographic region, but other areas across the country and even around the world. Everyone will be making a sales pitch in the hopes of landing the next big prospect.

That is why it is important to keep in contact with numerous companies, developers, marketing agencies and government officials. You never know when the next opportunity will come along, or when those connections will come in handy.

Pat Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, is leaving today for a week-long visit to Japan, traveling with several state officials and representatives of other development agencies in West Virginia as part of what has become almost an annual business mission.

This will, in fact, be Ford’s third such visit to Japan, where he and other participants will work to keep a hold of existing relationships — something which is very important in Japanese culture — as well as build on some potential new prospects.

International business markets have been providing solid results for West Virginia over the years, with Wheeling-Nisshin being the first to establish an operation here more than 30 years ago.

In our area alone, there are more than a dozen nationalities represented, and two of the latest major business announcements have come from companies based in Canada in Italy.

It is important to keep these outreach efforts going, no matter where they may lead, and we thank Ford, the West Virginia Department of Commerce, the state Economic Development Office and many others for continuing their efforts to keep West Virginia, and the Ohio Valley, at the forefront of the world’s mind.

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