Gov. Tim Pawlenty will lead a trade mission to China and Japan in September.
Pawlenty said on his weekly radio program this morning
that he will announce details this afternoon, but that the trip is designed to boost Minnesota exports.
He said it's a great opportunity for Minnesota businesses to learn more about exporting their products.
Anticipating criticism over the cost of the trip Pawlenty noted that the business people going will pay their own way, and he said his travel costs will not come from the state's general fund.
Here's the press release:
Saint Paul - Governor Tim Pawlenty will lead a trade mission to China and Japan this fall to help Minnesota companies increase exports, build strategic relationships, and explore new business opportunities.
The mission takes place September 9-18 and includes stops in Shanghai and Beijing, China and Tokyo and Osaka, Japan for meetings with business leaders and government officials, presentations by market and industry leaders, networking activities and business site visits. The delegation will also travel to Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province. Minnesota has had a sister-state agreement with Shaanxi Province since 1982.
The economies of Japan and China rank second and third, respectively, behind the United States as the largest national economies in the world.
"China and Japan have dynamic economies that provide significant opportunities for Minnesota businesses interested in increasing their exports," Governor Pawlenty said. "We're looking forward to building on the relationships established through the Minnesota-China Partnership and making new connections in Japan."
The Minnesota-China Partnership, announced by Governor Pawlenty in 2005, engages public and private organizations throughout the state to promote trade and investment, science and academia, arts and culture, and friendship and humanitarian endeavors.
"China and Japan are important marketplaces for Minnesota companies," said Ed Dieter, Minnesota Trade Office acting director. "Japan has long offered excellent markets for Minnesota products, and any company doing business internationally should consider China's tremendous and continuing growth."
China buys more Minnesota manufactured goods than any country after Canada, importing more than $1 billion of Minnesota products every year since 2005. Top exports to China include machinery, including electrical machinery, medical instruments and plastics.
Japan also offers a wide variety of opportunities. Minnesota's most important exports to Japan include medical instruments, electrical and other machinery, food, grain and other agricultural commodities.
In the fourth quarter of 2009, Minnesota exports increased to four of our state's top ten trading markets, including China ($363 million, up 19 percent) and Japan ($226 million, up 6 percent). Korea ($129 million, up 20 percent) and Australia ($112 million, up 31 percent) were the other two markets in the top ten that showed an increase.
The trade mission is being coordinated by the Minnesota Trade Office (MTO). Those interested in applying to join the trade delegation should contact Li King Feng, 651-259-7484 or email@example.com, or Jennifer Kocs, 651-259-7488 or firstname.lastname@example.org. MTO is focused on increasing state export sales in foreign markets. MTO promotes international trade by providing export information, export education and training, and counseling to Minnesota companies that wish to sell goods and services in the international marketplace. More information is online at www.exportminnesota.com.
Governor Pawlenty has led previous trade missions to Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, India, Israel and Poland. Delegation members pay their own expenses. Expenses incurred by the Governor's office for this trade mission will be paid from trade mission participant funds, not taxpayer funds.
Where is the money coming from? With our deficit we cannot afford this trip. He is not the head of a private business, the type of institution he prefers when it comes to a comparison of who should be involved: government or private business. As a taxpayer I do not want to subsidize his resume or a private business' spade work to develop future profits that will fallto investors. The return on investment for these so called business development trips is zero or close to it, unless someone can correct me some factual data. Did he check with the Obama regime to see whether his message whatever it is will be is suppotive of our country? He has a conflict of interest: his personal future v. that of the State's.
This is bunk to imply that the funds are not coming from the taxpayers … Pawlenty moves people around … dipping here … dipping there … technically, it may not be coming from the State General Fund, but it most likely is coming from ExportMinnesota funding … with all the budget cuts, this should be seriously questioned … remember this is not just the Governor traveling alone … in past missions, he has brought at least three security personnel, other department heads and others from the ExportMinnesota department. Am I not correct that Governor Ventura traveled to Cuba and had his travel expenses paid by the delegation … not by the taxpayers ?
Is his wife going along as a guest of the taxpayers ? For his South American trade mission, First Lady Mary Pawlenty’s official itinerary includes the socially important activities of “visiting a local antique and flea market, enjoying the sights and tastes of the Mercado Municipal (city market), and touring the Sé Cathedral and central plaza. Lunch is included. ”
This is Pawlenty’s second China trade mission (the first being in November 2005) and I believe that delegation numbered in the 200 range; the India delegation was over 100; but the South American trip only generated 33 companies. Does the diminishing number of participants indicate that these trips do not generate the sales return necessary for business to justify the travel expenditure ? Businesses realize that foreign sales have to "be built from the ground up, and locally" and may have decided that they do not have the time.