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W.Va. representatives try wooing Germans

December 10, 1997

W.Va. representatives try wooing Germans

A group of West Virginia businesspeople talked to a car lock manufacturer along with German deer hunters on Tuesday, the second day of a German trade tour.

"I think everyone is very optimistic about the last two days," U.S. Rep. Bob Wise said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

Wise and U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, both D-W.Va., are leading the tour.

They are focusing on customers for West Virginia businesses or German businesses looking to invest in the United States, they said.

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Eastern Panhandle developers Ken Lowe and Bruce Van Wyk are on the trip to court investors, said Wise spokesman Tom Gavin. They were not available for comment Tuesday.

Officials realized Tuesday that one untapped market is German deer hunters. It is difficult to get a hunting license there, said W.Va. Commerce Commissioner Bob Reintsema.

The chemical, tourism, wood products and mining industries are the focus of the tour.

On Tuesday, Wise led a group visiting Witte Company, which makes locking systems for carmakers like Audi and Volvo.

Wise said the trade group is establishing business relationships in its six-day tour that could never have been made over the phone.

"You can't make cold calls on CEOs of multibillion dollar corporations," he said.

- Laura Ernde

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