Gov. Nixon prepares for trip to United Arab Emirates to bolster trade

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JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Jay Nixon will lead a trade delegation to the United Arab Emirates on Friday to bolster Missouri's economic interests oversees. This trip is one of several international trips taken by the governor since 2009.

The Governor's office reported Missouri exports are on pace for an all-time high in 2016. As of September 2016, the state had reached $10.6 billion in export-generated revenue. The previous high was back in 2014 with $14.2 billion. 

Lynn Gastineau is the president of family-owned, Gastineau Log Homes, a company currently exporting log homes to 12 countries. 

"We have got a lot more help here in Missouri for our businesses than what a lot of states offer," Gastineau said. 

The Nixon administration also reported it worked on 81 projects with international interest since 2009. It said these projects have brought the state an estimated $2.1 billion in foreign investment and some 5,400 new jobs.

Gastineau said she has visited China seven times for business purposes. "At this point in time we've had more potential in China than we've ever had," Gastineau said. 

While abroad, Nixon plans to meet with high-level officials in a market he has deemed an "emerging economy". The UAE is the world's largest market for exports. According to the Governor's office, popular Missouri exports to the UAE include metal products, transportation equipment, electrical equipment and appliances, machinery, computer and electronic products.

"He's opening the doors for Missouri businesses that are also on the delegation, to shake hands with hopefully their future customers," Amy Susan of the Missouri Department of Economic Development said. 

The Hawthorn Foundation, which supports private investment using Missouri leaders oversees, will pay for the trip. This same organization has funded similar ventures before. Other locations Nixon has traveled to support these trade relationships include: Cuba, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Switzerland, Colombia, Peru, Panama, Israel, Italy, Spain and Germany. 

The only cost to the taxpayers comes from paying for police escorts or representatives from other state agencies. 

However, many wonder what will come of a new administration in terms of fostering these trade trips and relationships. 

Governor-elect Eric Greiten's campaign said, “If a trade mission leads to more jobs and higher pay, then Eric Greitens will proudly lead it.”