- Associated Press - Saturday, June 14, 2014

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Gov. Maggie Hassan is leading a trade mission of New Hampshire business representatives to Turkey on Friday.

Some have criticized Hassan for not cancelling the June 20-27 trip after issuing an executive order last month freezing out-of-state travel. Her office has said cancelling the trip would cost the participating businesses without saving the state money. Hassan announced plans for the trade mission in March.

Jeffrey Rose, commissioner of the state Department of Resources and Economic Development, said the governor’s presence will help open doors to the businesses seeking to connect with Turkish businesses. Turkey has emerged as an important market and is New Hampshire’s 12th largest trading partner, Rose said. New Hampshire sent $79 million in goods and services to Turkey last year, he said.

The budget Hassan signed last year increased international trade assistance and restored funding for trade missions to help businesses market and sell their products. Rose said the International Trade Resource Center has organized trade missions over the past 15 years to Brazil, Chile, England, France, India, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands. The missions result in tens of millions of dollars in contracts to New Hampshire companies, he said.

With lawmakers’ approval, Hassan froze most hiring, equipment purchases and out-of-state travel paid for with New Hampshire state tax funds. She said the freeze was needed after tax collections dropped in April, nearly wiping out a surplus. The freeze came after the state had spent money on arranging travel to Turkey.

The state is spending about $15,000 on the trip.



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