Schaefer plans trade mission to Western Europe

May 23, 1992|By David Conn | David Conn,Staff Writer

Gov. William Donald Schaefer said yesterday that he will travel to Europe next week on a 10-day trade mission that will take him to England, Italy, Germany and the new Republic of Slovenia in search of business for Maryland.

The trip, to begin Wednesday, will mark the first time Mr. Schaefer has embarked on a trade mission since a 13-day trip to Singapore and Japan in June last year.

He canceled a trip to Mexico and South America last fall, citing state budget problems.

This month's trip will take the governor and a small contingent of state officials first to Slovenia, part of the former Yugoslavia.

The governor's press office said Mr. Schaefer will be the first U.S. governor to visit the country since its independence a year ago.

Mr. Schaefer, Mark L. Wasserman, secretary of Department of Economic and Employment Development, and M. Scott Blacklin, who heads the Maryland International Division, will visit with Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek to lobby for Westinghouse Corp.'s bid to operate an air traffic control system for the Slovenian government.

In Heidelberg, Germany, the governor will address graduating students of University College, part of the University of Maryland's extensive overseas system.

From there, he will visit the Italian cities of Biella -- where the

Maryland officials will meet with executives from FILA Sport SpA, which owns a shoe distribution center in the Baltimore area -- Voghera, for a meeting with Minerva SRL, whose Lupi Inc. subsidiary distributes olive oil in Baltimore, and Livorno, for a meeting of shipping industry executives at the Livorno Yacht Club.

At that point, Transportation Secretary O. James Lightizer and Adrian G. Teel, executive director of the Maryland Port Administration, will join the governor and the economic-development officials.

The next stop will be Genoa, Italy, for a visit to the U.S. pavilion at Genoa Expo '92, part of the international 500th anniversary celebration of Columbus' first voyage across the Atlantic.

In Genoa, the Maryland officials also will meet with representatives of Lykes Brothers Steamship Co., a customer of the port of Baltimore, and Italia di Navigazione, which left the port in 1989.

In London, Mr. Schaefer will visit executives of the parent of Domino Sugar Corp., and of Nottingham Group Ltd., a maker of school supplies that recently placed its U.S. and Canadian distribution headquarters in Maryland.

Mr. Schaefer's press secretary, Frank Traynor, said the six-person entourage for the European trip, which includes a state trooper, is much smaller than those for any of the governor's prior journeys.

The governor drew fire this year from legislators critical of what they called gubernatorial junkets.

"We have created a number of opportunities to promote Maryland within an abbreviated timetable and with limited participants," Mr. Wasserman said in a statement.

"We have put together an itinerary that is lean but still aggressive."

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