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Posted June 15, 2012 | comments 11 Comments

Gov. McDonnell promoting area wines, agriculture in Europe

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

Three of the Northern Shenandoah Valley's top industries are being promoted by Gov. Bob McDonnell on his trade mission to Europe.

McDonnell -- who earlier this week announced a $10.6 million expansion project at Berryville Graphics in Clarke County after a meeting with the book manufacturers' parent company in Germany -- spoke to reporters via teleconference from London Friday morning.

The governor, along with Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore, and other state business, tourism and agriculture officials, is on a nine-day tour of England, Sweden, Switzerland and Germany in the hopes of spurring more international investment and job creation in the state.

Besides meeting with auto industry, pharmaceutical and firearms industry leaders, McDonnell said he's been touting the state's wine, agricultural and tourism industries.

"It plays a [large role in the promotion] because that's where so many of the great wineries are," McDonnnell said of the northern valley during a conference call from London. "We've had enormous success in promoting Virginia agriculture. It's already the largest industry in Virginia."

The governor referred to a deal announced Monday that expanded an agreement between Perdue Agribusiness and a Chinese company.

Dandong Port Group and Dandong Pasite Grain and Oilseed Co. will buy up to 10 shipments of soybeans - each shipment can hold about 2 million bushels - this year, according to a news release from McDonnell's office.

The release states soybeans were going for $14.86 a bushel as of Friday, according to the Chicago Board of Trade. At that price, 20 million bushels of soybeans would be worth nearly $300 million.

"We think it's a tremendous opportunity," McDonnell said from London.

He said he and other state officials are talking up Virginia's agriculture, livestock, forest products and other exports all over Europe.

"Technology businesses in the valley, we think are also important," he said. "We think that's a great place to locate industrial and light manufacturing because of the low tax rates and relatively inexpensive property values."

Virginia wineries saw more than 1.6 million visitors last year, Haymore said during the conference.

"A lot of those visitors came from Europe," he said. "Through the appropriations that the governor set in this year's General Assembly session, we will have funds to expand our agricultural international marketing efforts here in Europe."

Haymore said for every $1 in exports, the state gets $40 back.

McDonnell said the commonwealth has a "great business reputation." A low unemployment rate -- at 5.6 percent, the eighth-lowest in the U.S. -- a balanced budget, a state surplus and the quality of life in Virginia are among the factors fostering that reputation, he said.

"We're still optimistic that this fiscal year is going to close out positively for the people in Virginia," McDonnell said.

The governor blamed the President Obama administration's policies for hindering the nation's financial recovery and hurting its reputation among international businesses.

"Nationally and internationally, there's great concern about the policies of this administration," he said. "What I can do is what I can do, and that's to make Virginia as good and as competitive as it can be.

"I would say that we're going to continue to be as aggressive in telling the Virginia story nationally and internationally."

11 Comments | Leave a comment

    It's nice that our governor found money in his tight budget to take him, his family, and his staff on a wine tasting tour in Europe. #SARCASM #SCUMBAG

    Lets see... no comment about the 165 jobs brought to Berryville by a German company due in part to VA efforts but you jump on this story. How about #Hypocrite?

    Did the NV Daily get the Governor's press release about Exxon Mobil announcing this week that it's moving 2,100 jobs out of Fairfax Virginia to Houston? Funny, I get 6-10 press releases a day but never saw that one either. Guess Bob McDonnell doesn't announce job losses.

    Well isn't that a shock that McDonnell somehow failed to announce the Virginia job losses with the pull-out of Exxon Mobile from Fairfax and the 2100 jobs moving to Houston. I guess he was just so busy packing for his European trip. Somehow makes the cheering from some Virginians for the "165" jobs brought to Berryville seem awfully hollow. Of course, with 81 jobs being transfers from another site, that means only 84 jobs will be created for "new hires". But then, how can we be "ahead" when I read where someone else said 130 people had been laid off from this company in recent years so---------??? Maybe the cheering from some Virginians has been premature especially when viewed from the perspective of the 2100 jobs lost from Exxon Mobile. Meanwhile, I am sure "Bob" and entourage will have a real good time in Europe-----on our dime.

    Good news and bad news.

    Ah, the bad news is twenty-one hundred minus eighty-one is...... is...... is.......? Aw shucks, I was never good at word problems.

    The good news is Stubie eats another one. But, he's beginning to get used to the new diet.

    Ah yes, the timing is perfect, I'm sure lots of Brits will want to help us celebrate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, and maybe they can stop and visit Yorktown while they are here. Cornwallis would have wanted it this way.

    Wooly Bully, you and the other lefties (what is there, three or four of you? It is hard to tell with all the noms de plume in play here.) always lurch off on tangents. The original point concerned the effort to attract jobs from foreign countries. If you want to look at the general Virginia employment rate, you will really have to eat a big one. Virginia is at 5.6 percent, down .6 from from this time a year ago. The national average is 8.2 percent. Your hero (and his wife) in the White House does a lot travel on the taxpayers dime and we get nothing but rhetoric and a rising unemployment rate.

      Good points, Stubie. The Governor is not attending fundraisers in Europe or elsewhere. He is promoting the state for its hospitable business climate. It is always better to have face time and press the flesh with prospects. The Governor is doing promotion the right way. It will pay off handsomely - for the measly dimes it is costing him to travel.

      Citizens can do their part by being courteous and friendly to our foreign visitors. Tourism is one of the top economic engines in the Valley. This means having manners, speaking properly, dressing cleanly and decently, and no swearing, smoking or public drunkenness.

      Plus put on a happy face and at least appear to be pleased that folks are coming here. If you don't LIKE being nice, PRETEND. You can be consoled by laughing all the way to the bank.

      Virginia has lower unemployment thanks to the many government jobs. Even many of the private sector jobs located in Virginia are indirectly funded by the federal government. Not only can you see it in Northern Virginia----just look down in that whole Hampton Roads area and you can see it. So I would not be giving McDonnell the credit for Virginia's lower unemployment rate.

      The rabid right wing screams about Obama and his family going on trips (when we know it has not been any more often and in fact much less than some former presidents and their families) and complaining about the cost, which is grossly exaggerated on "Crazy as a Fox so-called news". So it has provided a laugh to see how the Republican governor is given a pass-----because he is a Republican! Quite hypocritical but not surprising for the right wing nuts.

    You have it right, Wooly Bully. Along with what you said about aaspo, Ms. Callahan is also a D.C. lobbyist---the president and founder of the American Association of Small Property Owners. Now, by that name, sounds like they are there just for us 'simple folk' and our homes, but dig just below the surface and you find that they lobby for "landlords and real estate investors so they may prosper"----(does that include slum landlords?)"----by, among other things, "lower taxes and less regulation" for same landlords and real estate investors. They would get rid of all rent control and land conservation would not be given so much as a passing glance. They think the government "owns far too much public lands" and lobbies against that and I would safely guess that if they could get their way, which they might if Republicans have total control of our government, our National Forests, Parks, Wilderness Areas will have tracts of National Land up for sale to the highest bidder. Which would affect even us simple folk here in the rural areas (?maybe even 'stubie'?) who enjoy hunting, fishing, recreation in general, in America's National Forests and Parks. So when aaspo (Callahan) and the Right Wing says we would still have plenty of national property left, what is my answer? Well, look at what the NRA's response is when asked about any kind of gun control only insert the words "selling parts of the National lands". In other words, when you start thinking it is ok to sell our National Forests and National Parks, even just a "small amount," it won't stop there and just leads to more and more and makes it all seem ok. Like getting on a slippery slope.

    But gee----I am "off topic" too! I guess I better put on my happy face and go out and enjoy America's National Park while I still can!

    Bob McDonnell is running for the Romney VP slot. Foreign travel addresses the foreign relations experience qualification list and going to wrap himself around "jobs" announcements is related to the campaign for obvious reasons.

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