“I keep telling my friends that German investment in America has created 650,000 jobs,” he said. “This is good news and I’m very optimistic this will go on.”
U.S. Congressman Chuck Fleischmann played host to the German ambassador during a day that included a tour of the Volkswagen plant. Because of time constraints, Ammon did not tour the Wacker Polysilicon North America plant under construction in Charleston, but the two officials met with company officials and other business leaders in the region to discuss the “Chattanooga miracle.”
“We had a great visit with representatives from Wacker and Olin Corp.,” Fleischmann said. “They are part of the great economic boom in this area.”
The ambassador said there is no expectation the economic problems in Europe or the U.S. will hinder further investments.
“This investment was not stopped when the economy went south here and the financial crisis hit America,” he said. “German companies are here for the long haul. We are here because we believe in this place and this country.”
He expects the financial problems in the eurozone will disappear once the legal framework is put into place limiting the borrowing of member countries. The German dignitary said he also believes the United States will solve its own debt problem.
“I’m very frank about this,” he said. “I’m optimistic about the U.S. and I’m optimistic about Europe. I have a very deep-rooted belief in the ability of the American people to solve these types of problems as they have in the past and they will in the future.”
Ammon said he was impressed with the auto assembly plant and the warm-hearted people he found in his first visit to Southeast Tennessee.
“The Volkswagen plant is one of the most modern car plants in the world,” he said. “It’s top of the line in all respects, ecology-wise but certainly when it comes to diverse technology. I’ve seen car plants all over the world and there is a certain tranquility. People are working with earnest enthusiasm. People are really feeling good there, which is something I haven’t noticed to that extent in other plants.”
He also praised Fleischmann for working hard to bring investment to his district and said he would make sure the congressman’s efforts are known when he returns to Germany.
He said one of the most remarkable aspects of the region that led VW to choose its location was the friendly political environment.
Ammon said yesterday’s visit was his first trip to Chattanooga, “but the story of the Chattanooga Choo-Choo has been with me since my childhood days.”