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Ambassador Announcements Mean Boost for Montana's Economy

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BUTTE -

Eight of the world's leading business executives, along with five ambassadors from some of the most dynamic economies across the globe, convened at the Hyper Building in Butte Monday morning.

They all discussed ways to increase trade opportunities throughout Montana and abroad, followed by announcements of "big" boosts for Montana's economy.

"I just asked them. It's pretty simple. Just got on the phone and said, 'Cheryl, Alan, can you come to Montana?' 'Sure, Max. We'll come.' "

In an early morning interview, Senator Max Baucus said he is highlighting Montana as a place to do business, which he said he did so by bringing in keynote speakers such as Sheryl Sandberg, who is the chief operating officer of Facebook and Elon Musk, who is the CEO of SpaceX.

"The bottom line here is jobs," added Senator Max Baucus. "That's all we can do with our exchanges back and forth to help find new ways to either find new jobs or add new jobs to what we're already doing."

In addition to the all-star line-up of keynote speakers, Baucus invited five ambassadors from China, Germany, Japan, Peru and Canada. In a panel discussion, they offered inside knowledge to Montana's business leaders and educators on how to create a skilled workforce, how to boost production, and how to support good-paying jobs at home.

"Promotion of your strengths to be seen in the world," Harold Forsyth, who is the Peruvian Ambassador to the United States, suggested. "And, as we have agreed here, you need to send commercial missions, representatives of the Montana private sector to the world."

It was during this discussion that Forsyth announced a partnership between the University of Montana and the Peruvian National Agricultural University to cooperate on forestry-related research and education programs, all in an effort to boost forestry jobs.

That wasn't the only announcement. Senator Baucus was joined on-stage with Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer. Together, they unveiled a trade mission that is expected to bring Canadian companies to the booming oil region in Eastern Montana this fall, which would leverage the partnership Montana has with its neighbors to the north.

"Whether it's renewable materials or traditional energy, it's been very, very much a success story here, in Montana, for the world," Gary Doer said, who is the Canadian Ambassador for the United States.

Another powerful announcement came from the senior senator. Max Baucus announced that HCSC and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana are planning to open a new call center in Great Falls, which would employ 100 to 150 people.

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