Gov. Jay Nixon announced today that he will lead a delegation of Missouri business and manufacturing leaders to Brazil from April 14 to 18. The delegation will include representatives from key Missouri businesses and institutions, including Boeing, Monsanto, Orscheln Products, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc., Solae and Missouri State University. During the visit, Gov. Nixon will sign an agreement with the Governor of the State of São Paulo to open and expand new markets, increase Missouri exports to Brazil, and expand cultural and educational partnerships between Missouri and Brazil.
Numerous Missouri businesses also are expected to negotiate contracts with Brazilian customers during the exports mission.
Gov. Nixon announced the mission during a visit to the Office of International Programs, housed in the Jim D. Morris Center on the campus of Missouri State University. During the trade mission, representatives of Missouri State University will sign an exchange agreement with the State University of Maringa in Brazil.
"As we continue to work tirelessly to create jobs and grow our economy, we know that selling more Missouri-made goods around the world must be a key part of our strategy," Gov. Nixon said. "Last year, Missouri businesses set an all-time record for selling Missouri-made and Missouri-grown goods around the world. We want that trend to continue. During this working trip to Brazil, we will work with Missouri businesses to increase exports, open and expand Brazilian markets, and significantly expand our presence in South America. I'm pleased to be leading a strong delegation on this trip to sell more Missouri-made goods to other countries, and to create more jobs here at home."
Missouri businesses set an all-time record for exports in 2011, selling more than $14.1 billion in Missouri-made and Missouri-grown goods around the world. In 2011, Missouri exported nearly $323 million in goods and products to Brazil, making that nation Missouri's 10th-largest export market. Missouri's top exports to Brazil include chemicals, minerals and ores, transportation equipment, machinery, electrical equipment and appliances, and computer and electrical products, and agricultural products.
Joining Gov. Nixon on the delegation will be: First Lady Georganne Nixon; Jon Hagler, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture; Jason Hall, deputy director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development; State Sen. Michael Parson (R-Bolivar), vice-chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Food Production & Outdoor Resources Committee; and State Rep. Kevin McManus (D-Kansas City), a member of the House International Trade and Job Creation Committee.
The delegation also will include representatives of numerous Missouri businesses and institutions, such as Boeing, Monsanto, Orscheln Products, Missouri State University, Solae, Herzog Contracting Corp., Ungerboeck Systems International, SCD Probiotics, Infinite Energy Construction, Wilson Manufacturing, HTS Technologies, Worldwide Recycling Equipment, Diva Maker, and Sunset Transportation.
"This exports mission is another critical step in our strategy of establishing solid trade relationship between Missouri and other states at the sub-national level," Gov. Nixon said. "We are committed to working directly with provincial and local governments in other countries to open doors and expand opportunities for Missouri businesses to sell their goods around the world. That leads to more jobs and growth here at home."
During the export mission, Gov. Nixon will visit both São Paulo and Brasilia for meetings with senior business and governmental leaders. In São Paulo, Gov. Nixon is scheduled to meet with Gov. Geraldo Alckmin of the State of São Paulo; Acting U.S. Consul General William Popp; and Dr. Gilberto Kassab, mayor of the City of São Paulo. Gov. Nixon also will meet with the board and address the membership of the Federation of Industries of Brazil and address the members of the American Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo. He also will tour Iochpe-Maxion, a major Brazilian automotive supplier.
In Brasilia, Gov. Nixon is scheduled to meet with Minister of Defense Celso Amorim; Minister of Industry and Commerce Fernando Pimentel; Minister for Foreign Affairs Antonia de Aguiar Patriota; and Minister of Agriculture Mendes Ribeiro Filho. Gov. Nixon also is scheduled to meet with U.S. Ambassador Thomas A. Shannon.
"We appreciate having a Governor who is focused on expanding markets for Missouri's farmers and stakeholders," said Duane Simpson, of Monsanto Company, who will be a member of the delegation. "The Latin America market represents an important strategic growth area for our business. We look forward to traveling with the Governor to this important agricultural market."
In keeping with state practice, travel costs for Gov. and Mrs. Nixon will be covered by the Hawthorn Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting economic growth in Missouri. Taxpayer funds will not be used to pay travel costs for the Governor or First Lady.
The Governor and members of the delegation will depart Missouri on Saturday, April 14, and arrive in São Paulo on Sunday, April 15. The delegation will travel to Brasilia on Tuesday, April 17, and depart for Missouri on Thursday, April 18.
"The transportation industry is a rapidly growing sector in Brazil, and we see the potential for significant growth," said Robert Orscheln, President of Orscheln Products and a member of the delegation. "We applaud the Governor for leading this delegation that will help companies like ours sell more goods to international consumers and grow the economy of our state."
"As a state, we have tremendous opportunities to continue to expand our exports of agricultural, manufactured and other products, and this trade mission is an important step in that direction," said Sen. Mike Parson (R-Bolivar), a member of the delegation. "I look forward to representing Missouri agriculture and other industries as we expand and open new markets for Missouri products in this growing economy."
"Our economic future is a global one, and we must help Missouri businesses compete on every front," said Rep. Kevin McManus (D-Kansas City), a member of the delegation. "This trade mission will help Missouri businesses grow their presence in one of the world's fastest growing economies, creating new jobs and new opportunities here at home."
Missouri State University also will ink an agreement with the State University of Maringa to promote student, scientific and cultural exchanges between the two institutions. Dr. Jim Baker, Missouri State's vice president for research, economic development and international programs, said such exchanges are a vital part of preparing students for careers in an international economy.
"As a university, the students we train and the businesses we help create must be prepared to compete in a global economy," said Dr. Baker, who will be a member of the delegation. "These agreements will help us forge relationships between Missouri State University and growing institutions in the dynamic and emerging Brazilian market. These relationships will be beneficial for students, research and businesses at our university and throughout Missouri."