Idaho Gov. Butch Otter will travel to China next month in an effort to increase trade with the world’s most populous country. China is Idaho’s fourth-largest buyer of exports, trailing Canada, Singapore, and Taiwan, and bought $571 million in Idaho goods in 2009. The Idaho Department of Commerce runs a trade office in China.
Fifteen companies, covering different fields of business, will be going with the governor to China.
Idaho taxpayers will foot the bill for travel costs for Otter and other state employees, but not for the business leaders. “Companies pay for their own airfare, their own hotel, and then they pay us a fee that covers things like ground transportation [and] receptions, but the salary and travel for Idaho state employees come out of the Idaho general fund,” said Damien Bard, the administrator of the commerce department’s international business division. “The governor’s role is to open specific doors for those companies.”
The governor previously went to China in 2007, and has also gone on trade missions to Mexico and several southeast Asian countries. Otter said the last trip to China resulted in a large contract to export hay.
The governor’s eight-day trip lasts from June 4 to June 12.
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