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Tomblin heading to Europe on trade trip

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CHARLESTON, WV (AP) -

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is taking an economic development trip to Europe.

The 13-day trip is set for Oct. 10 to 22. It will include stops in Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

Tomblin said Tuesday he'll focus on strengthening relations with companies already doing business in West Virginia, along with talking with others considering investing in the state.

"These face-to-face meetings are an indispensable part of bringing more global investment and good-paying jobs to our state," Tomblin said.

More than 80 European companies have invested in West Virginia and currently employ more than 10,000 people in the state. Last year, nearly one-third of West Virginia's $11.3 billion in exports went to Europe.

Tomblin will be the first West Virginia governor to take a trade trip to France.

He took a similar trip to Japan last year.

"Our mission to Japan was tremendously successful, with five companies announcing expansions upon our return," Tomblin said. "I'm very hopeful this mission proves to be just as fruitful."