Although the trip doesn't end until this coming weekend, Gov. Jay Nixon said Monday that Missouri's trade mission to Europe already has been "busy and productive."
And that included Boeing's announcement that the aircraft company "plans to locate a new information technology center at its St. Louis campus, and bring at least 400 new jobs to that area," Nixon said in a telephone conference call from Paris.
"The positions will provide a wide range of services for the company."
In a news release, the governor noted Boeing's announcement is "part of a large-scale restructuring of its information technology operations, which are currently located in Seattle," the aerospace company's headquarters. Boeing added its St. Louis operations when it merged with McDonnell-Douglas Corp. in 1997.
Boeing currently employs about 15,000 workers at its St. Louis County campus.
The trade mission left Missouri last Friday and arrived in France on Saturday, where it spent time at the International Air Show in Paris.
"We also had the opportunity to meet with a number of other aerospace industry leaders with operations in Missouri," the governor said.
"Missouri exports to Europe totaled more than $2.5 billion in 2012 - that's about 20 percent of our export market. ... We see growth opportunities over here and, quite frankly, we're here to seize those opportunities afforded by these market-based economies."
However, the governor told reporters, efforts to expand Missouri's markets won't damage existing agreements.
"My first rule in economic development is, also, true in trade - you should never pass an old friend to shake a new friend's hand," Nixon explained. "The bottom line is, customers we already have, who are increasing their demand and seeing their economies grow, have got to be the centerpiece.
"It's one of the reasons we're here."
The governor and first lady, Georganne Nixon, are leading the state's delegation. Other state officials involved include Mike Downing, the Economic Development department's acting director, and state Sens. Ron Richard, R-Joplin, and Ryan McKenna, D-Crystal City.
Businesses and other government agencies represented on the trip include Boeing; Automated Motion Inc. (AMI); DRS Technologies; Essex Industries; F-Stop Corporation, Kansas City Area Development Corp; Kansas City International Airport; LMI Aerospace; Mead & Hunt, Inc.; PAS Technologies; Sabreliner; Lambert-St. Louis International Airport; St. Louis Regional Chamber; and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Nixon noted the Missouri delegation already has seen and met with similar delegations from several other U.S. states, that also were in France for the air show, and the government officials' presence is a needed part of any trade mission.
He noted he visited with governors from Kansas, Wisconsin, Maryland, Oklahoma and Alabama.
"They know that, in order to compete in a world economy, you've got to show these folks that you're willing to go the extra mile to do that and, quite frankly, it's very competitive. That's why I feel like being here is important; we have to send a clear signal that Missouri is ready to grow."
The governor's expenses are being paid by the Hawthorn Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization that promotes economic growth in Missouri.