Inauguration of the new facility of Plastic Omnium in Detroit
Monsieur le Président, Cher Laurent Burelle,
Plastic Omnium Board members, several of whom are members of the Burelle family,
Dear Mark Sullivan,
Ambassador Antoine Pouillieute,
Representatives Somerville and Howrylak,
Chers amis, Dear friends
It is a great pleasure for our Consul General Graham Paul and for me to be here with you this morning at the “Grand opening” of this major facility in Huron Township.
Today’s opening and the significant investment made by Plastic Omnium, a very successful French and global company, exemplifies the vitality of the French-American economic partnership. This partnership, and this is good news, is growing stronger every year.
The US is France’s largest trading partner outside of the European Union and even more importantly, it is the top foreign investor in France and the n°1 destination of French investments abroad.
France and French companies do have a special relationship with Detroit, a fascinating city founded by a Frenchman and the world capital of the automotive industry.
We believe in Detroit, its many assets, its ability to constantly reinvent itself, and we believe in the dynamism of the automotive industry, in its capacity to innovate and to advance technology. In France, as in the US, we know that, despite difficulties, the automotive industry is an engine of growth. On a very competitive market, French companies have always been active partners of American carmakers and a large majority of the dynamic Michigan French community is employed in this industry. Around 150 French companies are active in the Detroit area and generate thousands of jobs.
Plastic Omnium is a major supplier to the American automotive industry and is a very good example of an inspiring “French success story”.
Present in the US since 1977, Plastic Omnium has already 6 plants and employs nearly 4000 people in this country. And the opening of this new facility will create many valuable jobs. It shows the strength of Plastic Omnium and its confidence in Detroit.
The first key to the success of Plastic Omnium is the “entrepreneurial spirit” of the Burelle family, reminding us that entrepreneur is a French word. And here I want to pay special tribute to Plastic Omnium Chairman and CEO Laurent Burelle, a visionary and extraordinary talented global business leader. The second key is innovation, that is at the core of Plastic Omnium’s DNA. And innovation is more than ever France’s number 1, number 2, and number 3 priority. With two research and development centers in Michigan, Plastic Omnium’s is at the forefront of developing new composite materials and better fuel tanks to reduce the weight of vehicles and CO2 emissions.
Plastic Omnium is also a “good and responsible corporate citizen”, dedicating a lot of resources and energy to contribute to a better environment. It is also very much involved in supporting local communities. The most recent example is the substantial financial support provided to the Eleanor’s walk for Hope which took place last Sunday and the cooperation established with the Detroit based human rights organization “Focus: Hope”.
So my warmest thanks again to each and every one of you for making this great and new Franco-American partnership possible, and I wish Plastic Omnium a tremendous success here in this great city of Detroit./.