Nation & World

S.C. Gov. Haley says her $127,000 Europe trip will bring two deals

Gov. Nikki Haley insisted Thursday that her recent $127,000 economic development trip to Paris and Munich soon will result in two companies locating in South Carolina.

Haley also disagreed with a media account in which Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt was quoted as saying no deals were struck during the trip.

Haley said she and Hitt agree the two companies will come to the state as result of the trip.

“He (Hitt) calls them agreements. I call them deals,” Haley said. “Those two (companies) – I talked to them. They are coming, and I am waiting for them to get announced, and we’re going through (the) logistic(al) issues of the announcements. But they’re coming. And I can’t wait until they come so I can say, ‘See.’”

Hitt agreed with Haley’s assessment Thursday.

“The deals, they get done (at events like the Paris Air Show), but there’s still paperwork to get done,” Hitt said. “A variety of processes have to be done before you officially announce.”

Neither Haley nor Hitt would identify the companies. Those identities typically are a secret until a deal is announced. However, South Carolina has been trying to sell the state to companies that do business with the Upstate’s BMW factory and Boeing, which recently opened an aircraft assembly plant in North Charleston.

During the lengthy trip to the Paris Air Show and Germany, Haley said she met with more than a dozen companies, including a four-hour meeting with officials from one unnamed company.

“There were intense negotiations,” Haley said. “This wasn’t just a five-minute, ‘Oh you’ll love the state’ and ‘Come on over.’”

Critics have characterized the June European trip – by Haley and more than two dozen other state officials – as a taxpayer-funded vacation. The trip did nothing to address South Carolina’s 10.9 percent unemployment rate, third highest in the nation, they say.

Thursday, Haley also shed new light on a still-being-developed plan to ask laid-off workers to do more to get unemployment benefits.

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