JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s chief executive is set to embark on his second overseas trade mission, this time heading across the Pacific Ocean.
On Thursday, Gov. Mike Parson will depart for Australia — Missouri’s ninth largest international market with more than $308 million in exports in 2018. He is slated to make stops in Melbourne and Sydney to meet with infrastructure leaders, worldwide business executives, and government officials. Parson will return to Missouri on August 10, 2019.
The trade mission will be funded by the Hawthorn Foundation, a Missouri non-profit organization which facilitates participation by Missouri–based businesses and community leaders in statewide economic development efforts.
According to a news release, one of the primary goals of the trade mission will be to examine the feasibility of using an infrastructure asset recycling program in Missouri to raise revenue and strengthen the state’s infrastructure.
In 2014, the Australian government launched an infrastructure asset recycling model in which state governments are incentivized to leverage public assets in sale and lease transactions. Governments in Australia are currently being incentivized to sell off or lease public infrastructure assets such as ports, wharves, electric grid segments, and housing developments with the revenue being reinvested into infrastructure projects.
“Since day one, we’ve been focused on building Missouri’s future by improving infrastructure and workforce development,” Parson said in a statement. “One of the ways we can do this is by looking at practices that are being successfully implemented in places like Australia, a leader in the infrastructure asset recycling industry, and bringing those best practices back to Missouri.”
Parson will visit with several dignitaries — including the deputy secretary of Infrastructure and Structured Finance with the New South Wales Treasury, the premier and deputy premier of New South Wales, and the U.S. consul general — to learn about infrastructure asset recycling.
In Melbourne, Parson is set to participate in two roundtable discussions with international business leaders to discuss investment and workforce development opportunities in Missouri. He is also scheduled for a panel discussion with agriculture industry officials to discuss ag-tech trends and investments in the U.S. and the important role Missouri plays in the U.S. economy.
In Sydney, Parson has meetings scheduled with the Macquarie Group, Boeing Defense Australia, Western City and Aerotropolis Authority, and Infrastructure Australia. He is also set to participate in a roundtable with CEOs and directors to highlight how the administration’s objectives are being achieved through a strong focus on workforce development and infrastructure.
The trade mission comes less than two months following a trip to Europe. In mid-June, Parson traveled to France, Germany, and Switzerland.
Parson came back from his first international trade mission with the announcement that Germany-based Bayer plans to relocate 500 jobs to Missouri. At the time, he noted, “I hope for there to be more announcements.”
Alisha Shurr was a reporter for The Missouri Times and The Missouri Times Magazine. She joined The Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University.