Our Views: Gardening for jobs

There have been no announcements of new factories or projects because of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent trip to Asia. But the notion that he’s coming back empty-handed is exactly the wrong take on the governor’s trip.

His visits to major investors in Louisiana’s economy, such as Formosa Plastics in Taiwan, are the sort of things we think governors should do. That Louisiana’s top official appears in person to show appreciation for direct foreign investment is worthy of doing.

Sometimes it is important for the “principals” in states, or nations, to just show up.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell called it “gardening” when he visited the large number of U.S. allies around the world. Maybe the current agenda of each visit was not heavy lifting, but the visit helped to build confidence or head off future problems.

A governor can and should “garden” with international companies invested in Louisiana. The governor, for competitive reasons, did not reveal the names of some of the companies he visited in his quick tour of Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. But that the trip was scheduled suggests, as does the quickening pace of investment nationally, that Louisiana could be short-listed for some future projects.

We hope so and commend the governor for the Asia trip. We hope he considers another some time in the next two years of his second term, as major investors in Louisiana’s economy are in Europe and China. Future investors might well be in India and Brazil, as well.

Given that the nation is seeing a recovery from the 2008 financial crash, the chances are that Jindal’s successor also will be making these kinds of trips, and probably more of them. But Jindal’s touching base is a positive for the state, and we hope it will pay off directly in the future.