For the seventh time in his more than seven years in office, Gov. Deval Patrick plans to lead a delegation on an international mission meant to strengthen the state's global trade partnerships.
The latest destinations: Panama and Mexico.
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Patrick will leave on March 17 — St. Patrick's Day — for Panama, where he and a delegation of 10 will spend two days before traveling to Mexico for the remainder of the week. The delegation is scheduled to return to Massachusetts on March 22.
"Lasting growth in the 21st century global economy will come from our competitiveness in global markets and opening up Massachusetts to the markets where we share strengths," Patrick said in a statement provided to the News Service. "The leaders in business and government and venture capitalists of Latin America's growth centers are eager to collaborate with us because they recognize that Massachusetts is an innovation hub with a disciplined strategy for growth."
After making his first international trade mission to China in 2007, Patrick has traveled more extensively since his re-election in 2010, taking six trips that brought him through Israel and Great Britain, Brazil and Chile, Colombia, Canada and most recently back to Asia in December when he visited Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Patrick and the delegation plan to meet with Panama's minister of science, Dr. Ruben Berrocal, and the Panamanian Chamber of Information Technology and Communications, as well as officials who oversee the Panama Canal and the City of Knowledge, a government-sponsored cluster of academic organizations and tech companies.
According to the administration, the expansion of the Panama Canal, which is underway, could serve to double inputs and outputs through the Conley container terminal in South Boston.
In 2012 COPA Airlines added a nonstop flight from Logan airport to Panama City, and as the Panamanian government has focused on developing its science industries. Massachusetts in 2013 exported $22.5 million in goods and services to the country, making it the state's 51st largest export partner, according to the administration.
From Panama, the delegation plans to leave for Mexico to meet with senior government officials. The governor also plans to meet with leaders in Mexico's clean energy, big data, life sciences and transportation industries.
Tod Hynes of XL Hybrids, Tom Pincince of Digital Lumens, Nadav Efraty of Desalitech and Paul Sellew of Harvest Power — all Massachusetts companies — will join the delegation in Mexico.
Mexico is the state's third largest trade partner, with $3.37 billion worth of goods and services imported from Mexico in 2013 and $1.86 billion exported from the state to Mexico.