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Gov. Whitmer to partner with Finland on clean technology growth, development

Published: Mar. 4, 2020 at 5:54 PM EST
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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Finland’s Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding to increase collaboration and innovation between Michigan and Finland related to clean technology industries, as well as autonomous energy storage and battery technologies.

“Michigan is excited to work alongside Finland to identify sustainable growth opportunities in the automotive, maritime and sustainable forest bioeconomy industries, mitigate climate change and collaborate on opportunities to make mobility cleaner and safer,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “This partnership continues to build Michigan’s longstanding, shared heritage with Finland and positions us to work together to create opportunities for safe, equitable and sustainable transportation options.”

The MOU signed by Governor Whitmer and Minister Lintilä acknowledges a global approach to sharing research and knowledge to spur automotive advancements, especially within the electric vehicle sector. As transportation options evolve, Michigan is committed to growing ties with mobility leaders across the globe and identifying new opportunities to collaborate. Michigan’s robust mobility ecosystem includes automotive parts manufacturers, including battery manufacturers, Tier 1 and 2 suppliers and OEMs. Finland, rich in materials needed for electric battery manufacturing, will be a beneficial partner for developing sustainable and smart e-mobility solutions.

Areas for possible cooperation identified within the MOU include:

• Sharing information and experiences on policies and regulations;

• Sharing and developing best practices on creating market opportunities and demand for clean technologies;

• Facilitating the development of direct contacts and partnerships between relevant public and private sector actors, linking the innovation and business ecosystems of Finland and Michigan;

• Encouraging and promoting dialogue, networking and cooperation between companies and research organizations through visits, workshops, meetings and other activities;

• Encouraging the participation of researchers and company representatives in partnerships and joint projects in the framework of relevant national, regional, and global programs and experiment platforms.

“Both Finland and Michigan want to take the lead in the transformation towards green economy,” said Minister Lintilä. “Finland and Michigan have a lot to benefit from sharing knowledge and creating business opportunities in the fields of clean technologies, smart mobility, and the battery industry, as well as sustainable bioeconomy. It is important to Finland to have concrete collaboration at all levels with the United States, including with states.”

While in Michigan, Minister Lintilä and the Finnish Delegation will also meet with leaders from General Motors and Ford and tour various mobility facilities, including the Piston Automotive Group, PlanetM Landing Zone, the University of Michigan’s Mcity and Battery Lab and the American Center for Mobility.

Minister Lintilä is traveling to the United States to strengthen cooperation in the research and development of smart and autonomous vehicles, energy storage and battery technology.

Governor Whitmer was joined for the signing by Gary McDowell, Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Liesl Clark, Director of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, Jeff Mason, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Shannon Hanna, Deputy Director at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Wednesday’s MOU builds on Governor Whitmer’s efforts in

– including signing an MOU with Israel-based tech MGO Start Up-Nation Central – to continue to grow the state’s global leadership in mobility.