More than 15,000 Pennsylvania-based businesses export goods and services, helping support 400,000 jobs across the Commonwealth.
Governor Tom Corbett led a delegation of 19 Pa. companies and leaders from the tourism and higher education sectors on a trip to Brazil and Chile this past week in the hopes of increasing that impact.
As the trip wrapped up and Corbett returned to Harrisburg on Tuesday, it seemed the 10-day, three-city Jobs First Mission to South America
was a success. Earlier this week, Corbett told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he and Chilean President Sebastian Pinera discussed a formal trade agreement, much like the relationship Chile maintains with California and Massachusetts, that was later signed
by the Chilean-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry and the Santiago Chamber of Commerce. Corbett also told the newspaper the leaders explored the possibility of Pinera visiting Pennsylvania, most likely to check out how natural gas production has taken shape here.
Also, last week in Brazil, Corbett announced that Wipro Infrastructure Engineering, an India-based global firm with significant Brazilian operations, plans to open a plant in Chambersburg that will create 74 jobs.
"I am leading this delegation to Brazil and Chile to open new doors for economic growth and job creation and to keep Pennsylvania at the forefront of international business development," Corbett said in a statement prior to departing.
In addition to Pinera, Corbett met with other high-level Brazilian and Chilean government officials. Corbett was accompanied by his wife Susan Corbett, Pa. Department of Community and Economic Development
Secretary C. Alan Walker, Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway and Public Utilities Commission Chairman Rob Powelson. Corbett also met one-on-one with the businesses that have a presence in Pa. and others considering investing here.
As for the Pa. businesses that accompanied Corbett, they come from places large and small across the state. The Team PA Foundation
, which funded and organized the mission, awarded $5,000 scholarships to a pair of participating Pa. businesses -- Regenex Corporation from West Middlesex and Brookville Equipment in Brookville.
Mercer County's Regenex is one of only four companies in the U.S. that manufactures seawalls and tidewalls, and it makes them from recycled vinyl window scraps. One-third of its business is in international markets, from Southeast Asia to the Virgin Islands.
Brookville Equipment, an original equipment manufacturer of rail transportation vehicles that supplies mining, tunneling, freight rail and public transit industries, is one of Jefferson County's largest employers and half of its supply chain comes from other Pa. businesses. The company, which does business in 40 countries, doubled its workforce in the last 18 months and could continue that growth with a boost from the trade mission.
Last year, Corbett led a trade mission to France and Germany. This year's trip underscores the administration's commitment to international business development. Pa. DCED maintains 28 offices in 26 countries, more than any other state, and most recently opened one in Singapore.
Here's a full list of the participants in the Jobs First Mission to South America:
Braskem America, Marcus Hook
Brookville Equipment, Brookville
Dancing Dots, Valley Forge
Dbi Services, Hazleton
GasBraker, Malvern (Chile only)
Greenville Neuromodulation Services, Greenville
Green Filter USA, Mt. Braddock
Holt Logistics, Philadelphia
ITSI BioSciences, Johnstown
Logistics Plus, Erie
New Pig Corporation, Tipton
NovaTech LLC, Quakertown
Rajant Corporation, Malvern
Regenex Corporation, West Middlesex
Urban Translations, Jamison (Brazil only)
Wharton Research Data Services, Philadelphia
XTL, Inc., Philadelphia
Allegheny Conference (Brazil only)
Chilean & American Chamber of Commerce (Chile only)
Franklin County Economic Development Corporation (Brazil only)
PA Chamber of Business and Industry
Philadelphia Regional Port Authority
Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber (Chile only)
Select Greater Philadelphia (Brazil only)
Team Pennsylvania Foundation
Philadelphia Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Philadelphia
Drexel University, Philadelphia
JOE PETRUCCI is managing editor of Keystone Edge. Send feedback here.