- Associated Press - Saturday, March 22, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - Gov. Deval Patrick is heading back to Beacon Hill after a weeklong trade mission to Panama City and Mexico City.

Patrick said the trip sought to strengthen trade relationships and build new ones between Massachusetts and the two countries.

Patrick made several announcements during the trip, including a deal between three Massachusetts companies - The Vertex Companies, Panel Claw and Solectria - and two Mexican partners to develop a 30-megawatt solar electric project that will be among the largest of its kind in Latin America.

Several state officials accompanied Patrick.

Critics have faulted Patrick for leaving the state at a time when his administration faces a series of challenges including the botched rollout of the state’s new health care website and the overhaul of the Department of Children and Families.