AUGUSTA (AP) — Maine Gov. Paul LePage and a group of business leaders are traveling to Mexico and Colombia to establish new business opportunities.

The group, which departed Sunday and returns Saturday, is aiming to promote the state’s business and educational opportunities and create links between companies in Maine and the two Latin American nations. The delegation plans to visit Mexico City and Queretaro in Mexico, and Bogota, Colombia.

During the trip, representatives from nine Maine businesses will meet with prospective business partners in Mexico and Colombia while learning about those countries’ economies and political conditions. LePage will speak at a meeting for a group of Mexican investors in the U.S., meet with businesses leaders and promote Maine’s educational institutions to Colombian students and parents.

“Maine needs to be more competitive across the globe,” LePage said in a statement. “Our goal in Mexico and Colombia will be to develop additional contacts for private investment and promote Maine as a great place to study and invest.”

Mexico and Columbia are among the top emerging markets for Maine exports, with opportunities for the state’s precision manufacturing, education, medical equipment, and food and beverage industries, according to the Maine International Trade Center, which helped the coordinate the trip with the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“We are excited to highlight the many assets Maine has, especially when it comes to manufacturing and distribution,” said Janine Bisaillon-Cary, president of Maine International Trade Center.

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