- Associated Press - Monday, July 4, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and other officials head to Germany on Saturday for a week-long trade mission.

Similar trips take months to plan and this one is no exception. But the visit comes at a tumultuous time for Europe, following British voters’ support in a June referendum for leaving the European Union. Germany is among the largest members of the EU.

Georgia Department of Economic Development spokeswoman Katie McCreary said no changes to the trip agenda followed Britain’s vote.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Deal said Britain’s exit from the EU could benefit the United States in the long run, depending on terms of trade agreements between the two countries.

“I recall when the EU was being formed that the primary motivation was to create a trading bloc what would be the counterweight to what we had with NAFTA with Canada, the United States and Mexico,” Deal said. “So any disillusion of portions of that trading bloc that was designed to be our primary competitor, I think in the overall scheme of things may very well benefit the United States in the long run.”

Tom Smith, a finance professor at Emory University, said he wouldn’t expect Britain’s exit to dominate conversations during the Georgia delegation’s visit.

“The governor and others may get a better sense of opinions there, but I would guess it won’t be the focus of any discussions or talks,” Smith said.

Germany tops the list of foreign countries importing goods to Georgia and it’s among the top 15 exporting goods from the state. The group plans stops in Dusseldorf, Nuremberg, Munich, Linz and Regensburg, including visits to “manufacturing companies with operations in Georgia,” McCreary said.

The state didn’t release more specifics. Some of the top companies operating in Georgia with German roots include Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, which both have U.S. headquarters in Atlanta.

While in Munich, Deal will participate in a meeting of the Regional Leaders Summit linking Georgia with cities in Germany, Canada, China and several other countries.

Deal and other officials have visited China, Israel, Japan and Turkey on similar missions in recent years to promote the state.

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