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Corbett to Embark on South American Trade Mission

Gov. Tom Corbett is headed on his second trade mission to connect Pennsylvania businesses, commerce groups and a university with potential customers in Chile and Brazil.

Nineteen companies are going on the trip, including a small business aiming to help blind musicians read music, a global manufacturer of plastics that just bought part of the old Sunoco Marcus Hook refinery and Walmart.

Also attending are 19 representatives of the commonwealth, including the heads of a few state agencies and First Lady Susan Corbett, who plans to promote Pennsylvania tourism.

The governor said it's natural for his wife to attend for the purposes of encouraging South American companies to see Pennsylvania as a tourist destination.

"She is the chairperson of the Council of the Arts, and she's on the Historical Commission," said Corbett at an unrelated event on Thursday. The Philadelphia Convention and Visitor's Bureau is also going on the trip.

"There are no tax dollars being used in this for me, for the first lady or anybody," Corbett said. "Many of the people that are traveling with us are paying their own way, and we're paid for by Team Pennsylvania Foundation (with) monies that were raised for this trade mission."

Corbett also defends criticism that the 10-day jaunt to South America is more boondoggle than business trip.

"It's an aggressive schedule," said Corbett of a typical trade mission. "Last year was 46 meetings in six days. That's like a political campaign (that lasts a) week."

Corbett's first trade mission of his term, last year, took him to Germany and France.

Former Gov. Ed Rendell went on one trade mission to Spain during his term. It was taxpayer funded.


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