- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is touting the state’s central location and AAA credit rating during a trade mission to Italy, Germany and Spain.

Nixon said during a call Wednesday from Munich he hopes the trip will help persuade greater investment from German automobile manufacturers, such as BMW.

The Missouri entourage includes Republican House Speaker John Diehl and Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, as well as Democratic lawmakers and economic development leaders.

The group has met with Italian cement producer Buzzi Unicem and the German chemical company BASF, among others. Both have Missouri plants.

Travel expenses were paid for by the Hawthorn Foundation, a nonprofit economic development group.

The trip follows a trade mission led by First Lady Georganne Nixon earlier this month to Cuba to promote Missouri agriculture.

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