Governor Little back from diplomatic mission in Basque Country

Posted at 5:51 AM, Sep 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-25 19:11:48-04

BOISE, Idaho — Governor Brad Little and First Lady Teresa Little, along with other Idaho officials spent six days in Europe for a diplomatic mission. The goal was to promote positive economic relations between Idaho and the Basque Country, the Netherlands and Ireland.

In his first television interview since he returned, the governor says those he met in the European countries are excited about establishing new trade relationships with Idaho--especially in the wine and high tech industries.

"A lot of missions go back and forth, particularly vintners because of the varieties of grapes they have over there. There's a keen interest in this. Silverdraft, which is located here in Boise that makes supercomputers that are used in car design, we made that connection and we'll see. We hope that comes to fruition," Little said.

Idaho Department of Commerce Director Tom Kealey and Idaho State Department of Agriculture Director Celia Gould and their staff joined the Governor and First Lady on the diplomatic mission.

Kealey says, "We've had a long-term cultural relationship with the Basque Country and region, but we also are looking at foreign direct investment, where companies invest in the U.S. and they invest in industries that are very important to Idaho."

Highlights of the trip included:

Basque Country

  • Meetings with the Premier of the Historic Foral Territory of Bizkaia and Cabinet officials, Mayor of Gernika, members of Bizkaian Parliament, and the Basque Autonomous Community Government with the objectives of encouraging trade relationships and investments and strengthening the long-standing friendship and cultural connections between Idaho and the Basque Country
  • New actions to increase cross promotion of tourism between Idaho and Bizkaia
  • Promoting collaboration between Idaho and Basque energy companies

Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • Meeting with leaders at cold storage company NewCold to discuss its investment in Idaho
  • Meeting with leaders at Tolsma-Grisnich, a company that develops storage and processing solutions for agricultural products, to discuss business opportunities in Idaho


  • Meeting with leaders and employees at Glanbia, Idaho’s largest dairy processor headquartered in Kilkenny, Ireland, to discuss business in Idaho
  • Roundtable with Irish business leaders to discuss Idaho investment opportunities