Governor’s diplomatic mission to Europe opens doors to new international economic ties

Monday September 23, 2019

Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little and First Lady Teresa Little concluded a six-day diplomatic mission Friday to strengthen Idaho’s ties with the Basque Country, the Netherlands, and Ireland.

“A strong economy in Idaho depends on positive relationships between our state and international companies that do business here or are looking to expand in Idaho,” Governor Little said. “Our visit opened new doors. We expect future business opportunities and partnerships resulting from the trip to bring added economic benefits to Idaho.”

Idaho Department of Commerce Director Tom Kealey and Idaho State Department of Agriculture Director Celia Gould and their staff joined the Governor and First Lady on the diplomatic mission.

The economies in the Basque Country, the Netherlands, and Ireland share Idaho’s long history in agriculture, especially in the production of dairy, beef, potatoes, and onions. Like Idaho, these countries have embraced and transformed technology and innovation in their agricultural industries. And like Idaho, they are working to propel their economies in the areas of advanced manufacturing, food technologies, software, and energy.

In Bilbao, Governor Little met with innovation technology company Tecnalia to identify ways to build on existing partnerships between Tecnalia, Idaho businesses, and the Idaho National Laboratory in the area of energy research. He met with leaders at Neiker Food Technology in Vitoria, a Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development, to discuss ways to build on existing collaboration between Idaho and the Basque Region in agricultural innovation. He toured the global Automotive Intelligence Center to learn how support for innovators is stimulating the auto industry. Governor Little also met with the Premier of the Historic Foral Territory of Bizkaia and Cabinet officials, Mayor of Gernika, members of Bizkaian Parliament, and the Basque Autonomous Community Government.

In the Netherlands, Governor Little met with the executive team at cold storage company NewCold about their experience growing their second U.S. location in Burley and talked about innovation and developments underway at the company. He met with leaders at Tolsma-Grisnich, a company operating in Idaho that develops storage and processing solutions for agricultural products, and toured one of their customer’s state-of-the-art onion packaging plants.

In Dublin, Governor Little met with 12 Irish companies looking to expand in the United States. In Kilkenny, he toured the headquarters of Glanbia, Idaho’s largest dairy processor, to discuss the investments the company has made in Idaho.

Governor Little instructed Directors Kealey and Gould to continue the State of Idaho’s communication with the companies and government leaders in the Basque Country, Netherlands, and Ireland and continue to support partnerships that lead to new economic opportunities in Idaho.

Photos from the trip are accessible on Governor Little’s social media accounts.

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NEWS MEDIA CONTACT: Marissa Morrison, Press Secretary

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