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More than 30 foreign ambassadors spent time touring the Charleston region earlier this week as part of a trip sponsored by the State Department and the Office of the Chief of Protocol.

The trip was part of Experience America, a program that allows members of the diplomatic corps to see various parts of the country. This week was the 23rd Experience America trip since the program began about 10 years ago, and the third trip during the Trump administration. Previous destinations have included Los Angeles, New Orleans, Chicago, Atlanta and Austin, Texas. 

Ashok Kumar Mirpuri, Singapore’s ambassador to the U.S., said each Experience America trip is different based on the region’s focus. Some trips have focused on biotechnology and medicine, he said, while others have focused on the tech and startup economy. 

“This one is really focused on global multinationals and the talent build, the stream of talent,” Mirpuri said. He added, “That’s really that new challenge that cities like Charleston face, countries like Singapore face. How do you deal with the future of work?”

Mirpuri noted how enthusiastic business leaders in Charleston are about the global economy, based on conversations he had and the tours he went on. “It gives a sense of a city that’s very connected to the world,” he said.

Martin Dahinden, Switzerland’s ambassador to the U.S., said his country has a lot of interest in investing in South Carolina, and the state is already home to several dozen Swiss companies.

“What I know from companies that are already present here is that they find the right labor force,” Dahinden said. “This is always very decisive, to find the right people, and I also have very good feedback on the business climate. People who expand or start a business here feel welcome.” (Credit: Charleston Regional Business Journal)