Gov. Tom Corbett will head to Europe next weekend in a bid to boost the international profile of Pennsylvania business.
Corbett and Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker will make the trip to France and Germany with their wives starting on Saturday.
The six-day trip will have stops in Lyon, Paris, Stuttgart and Dusseldorf.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the trip is the first overseas trade mission by a Pennsylvania governor since Tom Ridge's administration. A spokesman for the governor told the Inquirer the mission is all about jobs for Pennsylvanians.
The newspaper also reported a top state Democrat questioned the necessity for the trip. Corbett’s wife, Cabinet member C. Alan Walker of the Department of Community and Economic Development and his wife and other staff, aides and security are going along.
The trip is being funded by the Team Pennsylvania Foundation. The Department of Community and Economic Development provides helps fund the nonprofit and Corbett is the board's co-chairman.
Bob Schena, CEO of wireless communications equipment manufacturer Rajant Corp., says Corbett's presence will help open doors for Pennsylvania businesses trying to expand.
Pa. is touted as the 18th largest economy in the world and home to about 6,000 foreign-owned companies, with about a quarter of million employees.