By Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear is in India on a 7-day economic development trip, the third overseas trip Beshear has taken since May.
Beshear arrived in India Tuesday.
Beshear’s office said the governor is in India to promote Kentucky and spur economic development. This is Beshear’s third visit to India since he took office in December 2007. The previous trips to India have paid dividends, state officials said.
Last year, Flex Films, an India-owned packaging company, announced that it would create 250 new jobs in Elizabethtown. According to Beshear’s office, Flex Films is investing $180 million in Kentucky.
Beshear, in a written release, said that he believes that there are more India-based companies that may want to expand or relocate to Kentucky. Kentucky taxpayers will pay for the trip to India. The cost will not be available until Beshear returns, state officials said.
“We’ve already established strong ties with several Indian companies and are very optimistic about our ability to position the commonwealth as a prime location for Indian business owners looking to enter the U.S. marketplace,” said Beshear. “I believe we are on the forefront of securing many investment opportunities from India, and our ability to make personal connections with key decision makers is a large part of our success.”
Beshear has spent a lot of time on foreign soil this year.
In May, Beshear traveled to Taiwan and Japan. In late July, Beshear was in France and Germany. Both trips were designed to lure more foreign investment to Kentucky, whose economy is still struggling to gain its footing after four years of sluggish growth.
According to figures provided by Beshear’s office, about 33 percent of all capital investment and 22 percent of all jobs announced in 2011 were from foreign-owned businesses.
Kentucky has 420 internationally-based companies representing 30 countries. Those companies employ about 76,000 people. Of the 420 companies, eight are Indian companies.
Beshear is not the only elected official overseas this week. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is in the Middle East educating soldiers about absentee voting.