The state’s economic development director has been talking with Maytag officials, offering incentives to keep the appliance-maker in Newton, and get the company to expand operations there.Economic Development director Michael Blouin says Maytag’s an Iowa-born company that wants to stay in Iowa, but they’re in a very competitive global atmosphere. Blouin says the Governor has met with Maytag executives several times over the past few months, and Blouin himself is in discussions with the company about the array of state incentives which might be available. Blouin says it will take some time to decide what package state officials will offer Maytag, and the company might accept. He says part of the deal could be relocating other Maytag out-of-state operations into Iowa. Blouin says an announcement could come late summer, early fall or even a little farther off than that. Blouin says Maytag’s financial challenges are not unique.Blouin says there’s a very serious trend in manufacturing nationwide. He says Iowans may not realize it, but 51 percent of the state’s economy is manufacturing and it’s facing major troubles. Blouin says with global competitors, if companies get behind the international trends in wages, products or the training of its workforce, “all of those things lead to the kinds of brick walls that bring about closures,” according to Blouin. Blouin was director of Chambers of Commerce in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines before taking the top economic development job in state government. He made his comments on Iowa Public Television.
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