Trade and Manufacturing from the North Country

Governor Tim Pawlenty and a delegation of Minnesota business representatives are in India this week, and a Star-Tribune reporter is along on the trip. (Good for the paper.) Today’s story, and a very thorough one, “This trade mission is about jobs, jobs, jobs“:

AGRA, INDIA – As crowds swirled past, Gov. Tim Pawlenty lay on the ground to capture just the right photo of the Taj Mahal’s crisp white spires Sunday before climbing back into his tour bus to begin a dash across India, his fourth international trade mission and his seventh overseas effort since taking office nearly six years ago.

For Pawlenty, the trip, which will also take him to New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, comes against the backdrop of a slipping job market in Minnesota that has put the state behind the national average for joblessness for the first time since statisticians started keeping track decades ago.

NAM President John Engler met with Governor Pawlenty a few weeks ago and trade mission was a major point of conversation. As the NAM’s Frank Vargo tells the Strib:

Frank Vargo, international economist for the National Association of Manufacturers, called Pawlenty’s trip “very well-timed.”India is just cutting its trade barriers now,” he said. “So Indian companies are more interested than ever in buying foreign products. India is becoming less protectionist, and the markets are growing. It’s a hugely important mission.”

And a piece from last weekend, “Minnesotans seek business as India’s economy leaps,” noting that 300 million Indians are in the middle class.

Meanwhile, business continues in Minnesota, and this is Minnesota Manufacturers’ Week. A great lineup of events and speakers, including a keynote address by Jamie P. Estrada, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing at the Department of Commerce. We especially appreciated this one:

Jeffrey Scherer, Chief Financial Officer of Smeal Fire Apparatus Company based in Nebraska , will discuss a model program called “Dream It! Do it!” to attract workers and students to manufacturing careers in partnership with the National Association of Manufacturers.

The link above is to the Nebraska page of the Dream It. Do It. site. Here’s the main link.

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