HELENA — Gov. Steve Bullock will lead a delegation of 16 state officials and industry representatives on a seven-day trade mission to South Korea and Taiwan that departs Friday.
The Democratic governor, along with leaders from educational, agricultural, high-tech manufacturing and tourism organizations, will meet with government leaders and businesses in Taipei and Seoul in an effort to expand investment in Montana products.
Bullock also led a delegation on a similar trip to China last year.
“The trade mission we begin tomorrow as we travel to South Korea and to Taiwan will build on the successes of last year’s mission and ultimately open new doors for Montana businesses,” he said.
Last year’s trip resulted in additional meetings with potential Chinese investors and in Billings hosting the first U.S.-China Clean Coal Industrial Forum in August.
The industry representatives on this trip will pay their own way, with an average cost of $4,500 per person. Montana is paying for four people to travel, including Bullock, Commerce Director Meg O’Leary, Commerce communications director Ronja Abel and a Montana Highway Patrol trooper for security.
Errol Rice of the Montana Stockgrowers Association said he is looking to expand market share and drive investment into his industry. “There was a time when the largest part of our economic activity was domestic, but our future really depends on our ability to be globally competitive,” Rice said.
South Korea is the state’s second-largest trading partner and Taiwan is the seventh-largest. Last year, the state exported nearly $250 million in goods to the two countries.
The industry representatives will hold one-on-one meetings with businesses and potential investors while the state representatives will meet with government officials in foreign affairs, trade, education and agriculture.
The entire delegation is scheduled to meet Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou.
Commissioner of Higher Education Clay Christian and Abraham Kim, executive director of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center, will look to expand educational and cultural exchanges with the countries.
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