Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and members of the Consular Corps of Michigan formally opened an office in the county Executive Office Building in hope of increasing trade and developing relationships with the county’s international partners.
The Consular Corps, which represents dozens of countries including Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Spain and Turkey, now has office space in the Executive Office Building at 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. Patterson was joined at the ceremony by representatives from 15 countries as well as Irene Spanos, director of the county’s Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs. A brief ribbon cutting ceremony was held June 17.
“I am delighted to welcome the Consular Corps and introduce them to the many services the county offers,” Patterson said. “Foreign Direct Investment in Oakland County in 2014 was $171 million – more than a quarter of the county’s total business investment. More than 1,000 international firms from 39 countries have business locations here. These are important relationships to maintain and cultivate.”
A consul general serves as a representative who speaks on behalf of his or her country. One role is to facilitate trade and friendship between the peoples of two countries. They also provide assistance with bureaucratic issues for citizens who are living or traveling abroad and to those who live in the city in which the consul resides; and to the citizens of the country the consul resides in who wish to travel to or trade with the consul’s country.
Under the agreement, the consular corps is being provided with office furniture and space. Patterson also offered the use of the building conference center. The corps is responsible for providing its own electronic equipment including computer and telephone. The agreement is for one year and is automatically renewed unless ended by either side.