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Patrick: Trade trip will yield ‘tangible results’ for Massachusetts

Gov. Deval Patrick said yesterday his just-completed trade mission to Israel and the United Arab Emirates was “demanding and productive,” adding it was too early to gauge the long-term economic benefits for Massachusetts.

Patrick, who returned from the nine-day trip Thursday, told reporters that he was confident it would bring tangible results in the form of new jobs and investment in Bay State companies.

The governor has led trade missions to more than a dozen countries during his two terms in office, leading some to criticize the extent of overseas travel and question whether he should be absent from the statehouse at a time when the state budget and other major policy decisions were being debated by lawmakers.

“We’ll get investments and jobs,” Patrick said. “The way we grow is by building partnerships. That is a fact of global economic life today.”

Delegations led by governors from other states had already visited with many of the same officials the Massachusetts delegation saw during the UAE leg of the most recent trip, he noted.

The administration touted several initiatives announced during the trip, including a research collaboration between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ben-Gurion University.

But Patrick said it was far too early to attach a dollar value to the trade mission.

“What we were able to do was to open some doors, and it’s up to business leaders and not-for-profits to walk through those doors,” he said.

In the three years since a 2011 trade mission to Israel, Patrick said 200 companies with roots in that country had become active in Massachusetts, employing nearly 7,000 people.

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