Indiana governor making trade trip to Persian Gulf country

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s governor is traveling to the Persian Gulf country of Qatar for what the state economic development office says is an effort to boost business relationships with the region.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb is scheduled to leave Monday and return to the state on Friday, according to the Indiana Economic Development Corp. Holcomb will be joined on the trip by new state Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers and agency staff members.

Holcomb’s itinerary includes meetings with government and business leaders in the country’s capital of Doha and a visit with U.S. troops serving at Al-Udeid Air Base, a staging point for U.S. operations in the region.

Indiana officials hope to increase business investment from Qatar as the country looks to diversify its economy beyond oil and natural gas production. Indiana exported $43.4 million in goods to Qatar last year, according to the state development agency.

Holcomb’s Qatar trip, which is being paid for by private donations to the Indiana Economic Development Foundation, follows his trip to Israel in May in order to show support for the country after the 11-day war between Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers.