BOISE — Gov. Brad Little and first lady Teresa Little will join state agriculture and commerce officials leaving Saturday on a “diplomatic mission” to the Basque Country, Amsterdam and Ireland.

The weeklong trip is somewhat similar to trade missions past governors have gone on, but unlike those, this one won’t include private Idaho companies tagging along with the governor at their own expense. It also includes work on “the long-standing friendship and cultural connections between Idaho and the Basque Country,” along with promotion of trade, tourism, and business investments in Idaho, according to a media advisory from the governor’s office.

“Trade/export is not the focus of the mission,” said Marissa Morrison, Little’s press secretary. “Rather, the purpose of the mission is to build stronger diplomatic ties to the specified regions and countries.”

The trip will cost about $40,000, with the cost being split between the budgets of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture and the Idaho Department of Commerce.

“We expect future business opportunities and partnerships resulting from the trip to bring added economic benefits to the state,” Morrison said.

In addition to the governor and first lady, those traveling will include state Commerce Director Tom Kealey; state Agriculture Director Celia Gould; and their staffs.

In the Basque Country, the group will meet with officials including the premier of the territory of Bizkaia; the mayor of Gernika; members of the Bizkaian Parliament; and officials of the Basque Autonomous Community Government. Trade relationships and investments, cross-promotion of tourism between Idaho and the Basque country, and promoting collaboration between Idaho and Basque energy companies are among the planned discussion points.

In Amsterdam, the group will meet with leaders at NewCold storage company to discuss its investments in Idaho; and at Tolsma-Grisnich, a company that develops storage and processing solutions for agricultural products, to discuss business opportunities in Idaho.

In Ireland, the group will meet with leaders and employees at Glanbia, which is headquartered in Kilkenny and also is Idaho’s largest dairy processor, to discuss business in Idaho; and will hold a roundtable meeting with Irish business leaders to discuss Idaho investment opportunities.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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