Gov. Tom Corbett trumpeted a new business development in Chambersburg Tuesday that came together during his ongoing trade mission to South America.
But the governor, speaking with commonwealth reporters on a conference call from Sao Paulo, Brazil, sidestepped a question about whether Pennsylvania would provide a hostile environment to companies accustomed to doing business in countries with stricter gun control measures and countries recognize same sex unions.
The announcement centered on RKM Hydraulic Equipment, a Brazilian-based subsidiary of Wipro Infrastructure Engineering, opening a new plant that manufactures and processes hydraulic equipment for companies such as Volvo Construction Equipment in Shippensburg.
“The purpose of this trip is we’re trying to promote our expanding market and we’re clearly trying to attract foreign investment,” Corbett said of 11-day trade mission to Brazil and Chile.
Wipro, based in Bangalore, India, will open in a 33,000 square foot location in the Chambersburg Industrial Park in June, and employ 74 area residents, said Wipro General Manager Eric Olson. The facility should be fully operational by the end of the year, and service a number of businesses in the region.
“Wipro is putting our footprint where all the customers are so we can service all their needs,” Olson said of the $10 million capital investment over three years.
“We anticipate that Wipro will have a longterm commitment to Chambersburg and south central Pennsylvania,” he added. “And if things go as we anticipate, that employment will increase significantly.”
The jobs will be a direct answer to Corbett critics who argue the governor’s policies have kept Pennsylvania’s 8.1 percent unemployment rate higher than the 7.6 percent national average.
However Corbett did not associate the commonwealth’s conservative policies towards gun control and same sex unions — two hotly debated issues in the United States — with being incongruous to companies based in Brazil, where all firearms must be registered with the government and where same sex unions have been legal since 2004.
“We’re here talking about trade,” he said. “I’m not going to get into the social issues. We have our own laws in Pennsylvania.”
The governor also chose not to comment on Monday’s announcement that U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Montgomery County, had entered the 2014 governor’s race.
“Right now I’m concentrating being governor, doing my job as governor,” Corbett said. “I don’t think I’ve comment on any of the other parties jumping in [so] I’m going to stay focused on doing my job.”