Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett is headed on his second trade mission to connect Pennsylvania businesses, commerce groups and a university with potential customers in South America.
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 Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Also taking part 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 deflects criticism that the 10-day jaunt to Chile and Brazil is more boondoggle than business trip.
“It’s an aggressive schedule,” he said. “Last year was 46 meetings in six days. That’s like a political campaign [that lasts a] week.”
Corbett notes the trip is bankrolled by the nonprofit group Team Pennsylvania Foundation.
“There are no tax dollars being used in this for me, for the first lady, or anybody” he said. “Many of the people that are traveling with us are paying their own way. And we’re paid for by Team Pennsylvania Foundation, monies that were raised for this trade mission.”
Former Gov. Ed Rendell went on one trade mission to Spain during his term. It was taxpayer-funded.