Governor Tom Vilsack says he’s reached a “memorandum of understanding” with the German trade association that represents over 300 drug companies that’ll bring more connections between Iowa businesses and German firms like Bayer. Vilsack says the companies will share research and development, and exchange personnel. The ultimate goal is to have the German-based companies use Iowa as a jump-off point for U-S expansion, and Vilsack says, in turn, Iowa firms could use Germany as a launching pad for European ventures. He says they had never before thought of Iowa, but are impressed with what Iowa is doing. Vilsack spoke by phone yesterday afternoon as he rode the Autobahn in Germany.Vilsack says he learned there’s a real desire among Germans to have close economic ties with the U.S. since the countries are “connected at the hip” in terms of business opportunities. Vilsack says “whatever differences there may be between our national governments about the war, they cannot and will not interfere with the nature of business that must take place between the two countries in order for the world economy to remain stable.” Vilsack’s visiting his son in London and he’ll be back in Iowa Thursday.